TANZANIAN athletes are starting their long awaited journey of chasing medals at the IAAF World Athletics Championships today in London, UK and there is high hope that this time, medals will be won.
After disappointing campaigns in 2009 Berlin, German, 2011 Daegu, Korea, 2013 Moscow, Russia and 2015 Beijing, China in which Tanzania performed dismally, we now expect that the Athletics Tanzania (AT) have taken good lessons and prepare adequately for the London championships.
The only medal Tanzania has ever won in the event was in 2005 edition, when Christopher Isegwe got silver medal in Helsinki, Finland. Certainly, this is not a good record for the country endowed with talented athletes.
All is not lost though, we can still lift the standard of athletics in the country and there is a slight light at the end of the tunnel. This is because AT is slightly showing signs of succeeding in returning Tanzania to its past glorious days of Filbert Bayi, Suleiman Nyambui, Clavar Kamanya, Gidamis Shahanga and Juma Ikangaa.
One of the main reasons for this exciting, sporting development is that, AT have tried, albeit in small doses, to go back to the past, by scientifically proven methods of harnessing athletic talents.
Their main objective is to harness the youthful talent into global athletic beaters, and because they have started on the youth when they are still in their tender age, it would not be difficult to mould them.
The growing enthusiasm for training we are witnessing today, enthusiasm from very young men and women, who want to use athletics in turning around their lives is increasingly taking shape in the country now.
For instance, during a recent Junior Commonwealth Athletics Championship in Bahamas, a Tanzanian youth returned home with a bronze medal. Marathon star, Felix Alphonce Simbu is inching closer to world top honors, especially after finishing fifth in 2016 Rio Olympics and finished in the same position at prestigious London Marathon on April 23rd this year.
On top of that he won Mumbai Marathon early this year and this trend is encouraging and it is from such background that many Tanzanians hope that the senior team will also get the best from the London championships.
Our expectations should not be proved far-fetched because the contingent, which included Simbu, have prepared adequately for the championships. We believe the athletes entrusted to represent the country at the championships have the wherewithal to do a great job.