Tanzania: Minister Calls for Medalhaul in Olympic Games

The government has ordered athletes in Tanzania Olympic team to fight hard and ensure they reap medals in the 31st Olympic Games ahead of its official flag off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this Friday.

The Tanzanian team comprising 4 marathoners, 2 swimmers and a judoka is expected to leave today for Brazil and was yesterday flagged off by the deputy minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Anastazia Wambura in a brief occasion held at the National Stadium, Dar es Salaam.

The deputy minister urged the athletes to fight hard to ensure they win medals despite several challenges they faced during the preparations. She said they must realise what it means by winning a medal in the world's biggest sporting event.

Additionally, the Deputy Minister lauded all seven athletes for qualifying to play in the world-class competition saying their personal efforts enabled them to qualify. She also reminded them to realise their position as ambassadors who are supposed to represent well the country and tell the world the best from Tanzania in terms of sports and culture.

The deputy minister also used the occasion to recognise the efforts and supports from sponsors and urged them to also support sports and games that are still gaining popularity. The ministry's Principal Secretary, Professor Elisante Ole Gabriel asked Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) to organise a tour of the athletes in various national parks upon return from Brazil.

The athletes in the team include marathoners Alphonce Felix, Saidi Makula, Fabian Joseph and the lone lady Sarah Ramadhani. The swimming team comprises Magadalena Moshi and Hemed Hilal while the judoka was named as Andrew Thomas.

The coaches to accompany the team included Francis John (athletics), Alexander Mwaipasi (swimming) and Zaid Hamisi (judo) while the team's doctor is Nassoro Matuzya. The swimmers and a judoka are scheduled to leave today while Sarah Ramadhan is expected to leave on August 10.

The three remaining marathoners are scheduled to jet off on August 15. Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) Secretary General, Filbert Bayi said the players would leave in separate groups due to the flight schedules.

He said a judo team will leave by South Africa Air while swimmers will leave at 3 pm by Emirates. The team's captain Felix said he hoped the team to perform well because all athletes received long and intensive training.

"I promise Tanzanians a medal haul this time," said the captain. Tanzania has managed to win only two silver medals since inception in 1961. The country won its first and only medals during the Olympic Games held in 1980 in Moscow.

Suleiman Nyambui won silver in 5,000m after finishing second behind Ethiopian Mirutz Yifter while the second one is Filbert Bayi who also won silver in 3,000m steeple chase after finishing second behind a Finnish Paul Malinowski.

Source: Tanzania Daily News