Tanzania: Athletics, Boxing Okay Tokyo 2020 Reschedule

ATHLETICS Tanzania (AT) and Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT) have taken positive the postponement of Tokyo Olympics games due to global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

These authorities expressed their feelings right after the International Olympic Committee announced the postponement of the competitions this year in a statement issued last Tuesday and rescheduled the dates beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.

According to the BFT Secretary General, Lukelo Willo, the postponement of the global level competition was crucial for the safety of the players considering how fast and dangerous the disease spreads.

"We have received the postponement of the competitions positively, encouraging our boxers to take safe measures to avoid contact with the outbreak. As boxing authority our first priority is the well-being of our players."

He also commented on how the boxers have taken measures to avoid the outbreak but at a time how they keep up with trainings at their homes, "our boxers are currently training at their homes to sharpen their quality before the team resumes for group trainings under the supervision of Head Coach David Yombayomba soon after the outbreak is monitored."

BFT sees the postponement as a chance to sharpen the four boxers who represented Tanzania in Dakar, Senegal for Olympic qualification in continental stage last month.

Boxers in the team are, Yusuf Changarawe (Light heavy weight 81 kg), Alex Isendi (Light welter weight 64 kg), Boniphace Mlingwa (Bantam weight 56 kg) and Haruna Swanga (Super heavy weight 86 kg). They were under Head Coach, David Yombayomba.

According to Lukelo the federation is also looking on possibilities of opening doors for more boxers to train with the national team before the world qualification games are announced to take action in Paris, France or stick with the current squad.

Tanzania is still working for a ticket to qualify for Olympic Games as all boxers who went to Dakar for qualifiers were knocked out.

Meanwhile, the AT Communication Officer, Tulo Chambi, confirmed that after the outbreak they had to postpone a camp at Iteni, Kenya whereas they expect to resume their camp soon after the outbreak is no longer a threat.

He also told the 'Daily News' that the postponement is an opportunity for athletes who had not qualified earlier in the qualification games to work hard and improve their quality as the chances to qualify are open all it requires is hard work.

Only two top runners Alphonce Simbu and Failuna Matanga have qualified to the Olympic games, whereas both runners compete in the marathon category. Tulo has called for more athletes to join the camp especially the 100m sprint.

"It is an opportunity for those athletes who had dreams to fly the Tanzanian flag in Olympics, but have not qualified.

Thus, with this postponement it is a chance for them to train and qualify for Olympics." He also added that, "most of the players are currently training at their homes and nearby fields although he has urged them to take safe measures to avoid getting contact the outbreak.

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