ATHLETIC Tanzania (AT) has outlined programmes to create a pool of young athletes, through the establishment of high performance Athletics training centre in Mbeya Region.
AT President Anthony Mtaka unveiled the plans recently; when the association's top officials toured the Tanzania Standards (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) headquarter in Dar es Salaam.
He disclosed that the establishment of the centre was part of 'serious' transformation efforts of investing more in the sport initiated by AT, in an attempt to restore the country's lost glory in the sport.
"For the past decades, we have witnessed little investments in athletics... we want to turn things around by investing heavily in the sport," he said. Mtaka said in the recent past, the sport has shown some positives, drawing attention of several supporters, well wishers and the government.
And, this new initiative, he said, targets heavy investments in the sport as to groom more talents as well creating employment opportunities for Tanzanian youths. He said the envisaged transformation also aims at kicking off of early preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia and 2019 All Africans Games in Equatorial Guinea.
Apart from plans to establish the high performance athletics centre, Mtaka, who is also Simiyu Regional Commissioner, urged media outlets to support the body's envisaged transformation. "The transformation needs great awareness of the public and in-fact, AT targets to commercialise the sport so as to create as many employment opportunities as possible," Mtaka said.
Mtaka said the body has organised a fund raise drive through a 'Marathon Safari Walk across Tanzania' to enable them set up the ultra-modern centre in the Southern Highlands Zone.
Speaking on the planned transformation, AT Secretary General, Wilhelm Gidabuday said to facilitate the establishment of the centre, AT has organised charity walk from Kigoma- Ujiji to Dar es Salaam via Bagamoyo (Coast region).
"Marathon Safari Walk across Tanzania seeks to draw attention of the public and stakeholders support to the sport," he said.
Gidabuday disclosed that AT will involve government leaders and athletics legendary such as Juma Ikangaa, Filbert Bayi, John Stephen Akhwari, Mwinga Mwanjala and others to inspire stakeholders and the public in general to contribute to the project of construction of the centre, which will stay for years to benefit the country.
On his side TSN Managing Editor, Dr Jim Yonazi assured AT of support through its brands Daily News, Sunday News, HabariLeo, HabariLeo Jumapili and SpotiLeo because TSN is among the great sports stakeholders and willing to help whenever needed.
Dr Yonazi urged AT and other people to continue believing in TSN products, which are credible and accessible throughout the country and soon accessibility will be much easier as TSN is going to launch Daily News App, whereby people can easily access news from wherever they are in the world.