NATIONAL Service (JKT) yesterday feted national athletics team, following their recent feat at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, UK, pledging to rollout more quality athletes.
JKT organised a grand reception to congratulate the four athletes - Alphonce Simbu, Emmanuel Giriki, Steven Guche and Magdalena Shauri, who are army employees for putting up a scintillating performance in London.
JKT awarded them certificates of recognition, sports equipments and trophies for performing well at the world's event. Long distance runner, Simbu managed to put his mark again in the world's map, winning men's marathon bronze at the championships on August 6th, this year.
Simbu won the glittering bronze medal after finishing third in the 42 kilometres men's category in a time 2:09:41. He was surpassed by Kenyan athlete Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui and Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola, who clocked 2:08:27 and 2:09:49 respectively. It is the first medal for the country in the championships since 2005.
The only medal Tanzania has ever won in the event was in 2005 edition, when Christopher Isegwe won silver in Helsinki, Finland. His feat came after disappointing campaigns in 2009 Berlin, German, 2011 Daegu, Korea, 2013 Moscow, Russia and 2015 Beijing, China.
And Simbu's success has thrilled Chief of National Service, Major General Michael Isamuhyo, who has promised that JKT will continue rolling out more top quality athletes to represent the country at the international events.
"We will continue to produce and develop top quality athletes and the objective is to make sure that they represent and win honours for the country at the international events," Isamuhyo said.
"Through these young athletes, we have realised that there are many talented sportspersons in the country and if they are well organised, there is a possibility of winning more medals at the continental and world level," he said.
Isamuhyo added; "It is our duty to cooperate with other sports stakeholders in supporting the talented athletes for the benefit of our country," he said. Athletics Tanzania (AT) Secretary General, Wilhelm Gidabuday thanked JKT for drilling the athletes.
"They are all well baked athletes and always behave in cooperative manner, patriotic and disciplined, that is why they are always performing well in different competitions," said Gidabuday. He said through the JKT athletes, their teammates learned a lot and developed the spirit to compete and win for the country.
National Sports Council (NSC), Secretary General, Mohamed Kiganja has also lauded JKT for producing classic athletes, requesting them to continue fine turning and train young athletes. "We believe through JKT, the talented youth will not only develop their talents, but also maintain highest standard of discipline and spirit of competing at the top level.
MultiChoice Tanzania Pubic Relations Manager, Johnson Mshana said they will strengthen cooperation with JKT and other sports stakeholders to make sure the country's athletes continue to win big at the international stage.
On behalf of others in the team, Simbu who is the team captain thanked JKT for the support and training that encouraged them to perform well in the competition. He said through JKT, they are learning many things but the most important was the influence that the army was putting behind them to perform better in different competitions.
On Tuesday, Gidabuday pleaded for more support from government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to push the sport further as it seeks extra medal-hunt in international competitions.