Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Send-Off Party for Dar Olympics Team

COCA-COLA Tanzania has organized a send off party for the Tanzania Olympic Games team that is expected to leave next Sunday for a two-week brush up exercise at Bradford College in Leeds before proceeding to London on July 23rd ready for the Olympics Games opening ceremony on July 27th.

The pre-Olympic Games training for the Tanzania team has been funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the tune of more than USD 35,000 that the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) has already paid in advance. The same amount will be refunded to the local committee soon after training.

The send off party involving the Olympic team athletes, Tanzania Olympic Team (TOC) officials and other high profile sports dignitaries will be held on Friday July 6th at Kilimanjaro Hotel in Dar es Salaam. The TOC Secretary General Filbert Bayi yesterday named the athletes jetting off for Leeds on Sunday as Msenduki Mohamed, Samson Ramadhan Nyonyi and Faustine Mussa (marathon). Others are Seleman Kidunda (boxer), Zakia Mrisho (5000m) and Magdelene Moshi (swimming 100m free style).

Also in the list are four coaches - Zacharia Gwandu (athletics), Lemy Ngabo (boxing), Sheha Mohamed Ali and Abdallah Makala (physiotherapy). Others are Charles Nyanga (administrator) and head of delegation Hassan Jarafu. All the athletes understand the challenge that is associated with the Olympic Games - the biggest sports bonanza on earth - but are optimistic and set to compete alongside players from other countries and if possible win medals for "our country".

Bayi, former 1500m record holder, said other officials who are not part of the team will leave for London later this month to attend the opening ceremony. These include the minister responsible for sports, TOC and the National Sports Council. The Athletics legend, Bayi, said the Tanzanians should do away with the trend of crying for medals which they have not invested in.

"Our associations are in a very bad situation in preparation for the athletes in such big tournament since they have no the financial capacity to train them properly," he said adding that as a country, the government and other stakeholders should learn from the neighbouring countries in preparations of their teams.

He said the athletes who have attained a qualifying mark needs to be given a credit since it is a tough task to attain the needed standards. "It needs good preparations to qualify and it is very challenging to get medals, therefore we should appreciate what they did by qualifying to compete in the games," he said.

More than 205 countries are taking part in this year's games and Tanzania has been facing a medal hunger in the games for the past 28 years. Coca-Cola is one of the longstanding sponsors of the Olympic Games and the move to organize a send off party for the Tanzania team to the games is part of the company's initiative to support sports which have now become a reliable source of income for millions of the youth in the world.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Amos Makalla will tomorrow hand over the national flag to the national Olympic team.

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