At least 400 athletes from various regions are expected to battle it out at this year’s championships and we expect to see once again from today on what the Athletics Tanzania (AT) leaders have in store and if they are really capable of reviving the standard of the ailing sport.
In fact, the Morogoro event comes at the backdrop of the country’s failure to shine at the just concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia. A year has elapsed since the new AT leadership took office, after the election in Morogoro mid last year.
The new team promised to do everything within its powers to ensure athletics, which is experiencing a sharp down spiral was revived and prospers again. Staggering under its burden of prolonged mismanagement, the new AT leadership, under the Chairmanship of Anthony Mtaka, who is also the Mvomero District Commissioner, vowed to turn around athletics fortunes. Frankly, little has changed todate.
The fact that Tanzania sent only two athletes to Russia’s global championships let alone their miserable performance was once again a failure to the country and an indicator that athletics standards were still nose-diving.
All is not lost though, we can still lift the standard of athletics in the country and the challenge for the AT leadership is to make sure the sport regains its status that earned the country glory in various international competitions, such as All African Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.
This calls for joint support from the public, government and individuals. Yes! We should always remember that athletics in the country is not completely ‘dead’, probably, it is somewhere in the ICU, battling for survival.
They say the decline of athletics in Tanzania is absolutely house made and we should remember that it is always easy if not a simple task to put a house in order.
We should not stop reminding AT of various reasons behind the decline of athletics in Tanzania and chief among them is the fact that for the past decade or so, the AT has clearly neglected events other than long distance running, which means losing 90 per cent of the country’s potential for athletics and still no strategy to identify talent in schools in general and rural areas in particular.
The education or knowledge of coaches is stagnating. And especially shocking is the lack of knowledge and the increasing distance by officials and coaches to the modern requirements of athletics today. AT only needs to address and solve these deficits for our athletes to perform at the highest level.