THE Technical Committee of the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) has proposed plans for the country to feature in nine sports disciplines during next year's Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland.
TOC Secretary General, Filbert Bayi told reporters that the respective sports associations are supposed to table their strategic plans to the committee by March 25 this year.
He cautioned that associations which will fail to meet the set deadline will have to count themselves out of the Commonwealth Games. Bayi said they plan to send a squad of 64 athletes in the quadrennial event.
However, he said, the proposal does not mean that it was now automatic for all nine sports disciplines to send sportsmen and women for the event, saying the athletes will have to meet the set qualifying standards.
"Our plan is to send a squad of 64 athletes," he said, adding that a sum of 90,000 US dollar (about 140m/-) support to facilitate the team's training, a month before the games has been offered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The proposed sports are boxing, athletics, weightlifting, swimming, table tennis, judo, netball, cycling and Paralympics sports.
This is an increase of five more sports disciplines compared to the 2010 New Delhi, India Games, when the country was represented by four disciplines -- boxing, athletics, Paralympics and swimming. In the 2006 Melbourne Games, the country was only represented by athletics, boxing and Paralympics in which, Samson Ramadhani won gold medal in marathon.
Bayi said for the proposed sports, their respective associations must be active members of their international bodies. "After receiving the strategic plans, the TOC technical committee, respective associations and the government will sit and plan together on the way forward," he said.
He advises the sports associations to pick few talented and competent athletes and train extensively, instead of having a bigger team, which can not win medals. "We know that the situations was not all that good within our sports associations but it will be proper if they choose to focus on few athletes who will be trained scientifically to win medals", said Bayi.
The country marked its first participation in the Games in 1966 and won its first silver in the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, legendary 1,500-metre runner Filbert Bayi won the country's first gold in 1974 in the Games held in Christchurch. Certainly, 2010 New Delhi Games remain an event to forget for Tanzanians because the team returned home without a single medal, the worst performance for the country in the event.
Melbourne 2006 Games will also go down in history as a year to forget for Tanzanians because the team returned home with only two medals and worse enough without two boxers, who disappeared in Australia. Omary Idd Kimweri and Karim Matumla behaviour shocked the nation as they disappeared while representing their country.