VICE PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has called on Tanzania Athletics (AT) to produce competent runners in the likes of Filbert Bayi, who, represented well the country in various major international assignments during their heydays in career.
Speaking in Dodoma recently while gracing NBC Dodoma Marathon, VP said that Tanzania is endowed with talented young runners but she has been wondering as to why they fail when they take part in the international assignments.
Bayi, among others, Suleiman Nyambui and Juma Ikangaa ( who were born in the 1950’s) to mention but a few, put the country’s flag high, winning medals at different international events, before they retired.
Bayi and Nyambui, apart from making good strides in various races including the Commonwealth Games, are the only local athletes to have won medals at Olympic Games.
The duo won silver medals at 1980’s Summer Olympic Games whereby Bayi won in the 3000 m steeplechase as Nyambui, who is coaching in Brunei did it in 5,000m.
Bayi, despite retiring, is still the 1500 m Commonwealth Games record holder.
On the other hand, Ikangaa, who was known as ‘Butterfly’ for his running prowess, has untold success, among others, winning the 1989 New York City Marathon in a course-record time of 2:08:01 and was also a sentimental favorite in Boston Marathon after finishing second for two years in a row from 1988-1990.
VP Samia said that Tanzania stands chances of doing better should the talented players be exposed and developed.
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Kenya has been halting the local runners’ performances in the recent years as the local runners have been doing that occasionally.
VP has also urged local runners to train intensively, wishing them all the best ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
To date, only two athletes – Felix Simbu and Failuna Matanga – have qualified for the Olympics, which will now take place in 2021 (instead of July 2020) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Simbu, who won bronze at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London in the men’s marathon, finished fifth in the same event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
He also won bronze in the marathon at the 2017 World Championships and also finished 16th at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
According to Athletics Tanzania (AT), a long distance runner, Sara Ramadhani is currently under a special training programme ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
Ramadhani is one of the prominent runners with a wide experience in the international events.
Among others, she competed in the women’s marathon event at the 2016 Summer Olympics where she finished in 121st place with a time of 3:00:03.
In 2019, she represented Tanzania at the 2019 African Games held in Rabat, Morocco. She competed in the women’s half marathon and she did not finish her race.