News that leading local runner in the 10,000m Marco Joseph found no competition from outside in that distance, in what was actually a regional tournament with athletes from eight countries including Zanzibar participating alone, wasn’t encouraging.
It means that the turnout from elsewhere in the region wasn’t strong enough, and only athletes were found ready to use the regional meet for secondary purposes, as in friendly soccer internationals. Tanzania isn’t an athletics powerhouse, but the games could be lifted up.
While attendance would also be looked at from rather close range, rapid images tend to suggest that many a time athletic meets are held before a rather empty stadium if it is the National Stadium that is used.
And obviously it is good to use it as it would have the best facilities for track and field, and room for would-be spectators, while at the same time the very idea of an international meet presumes that many people would wish to see stars from near and far seeking medals, trophies. It shouldn’t be left a second rate event.
Yet it is hard to say that there was a problem with the organization per se, as ordinarily the Tanzania athletics authorities (AT) have a problem making ends meet, whether it is in relation to training, collecting a squad, sponsoring athletes, etc. Their ties with the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC ) are at best unclear and at worst ambiguity rules, as to whether the latter has a mandate for Olympic Games or for sports development as such, and if so, what is left for AT, etc. It’s a farm that has been left fallow for so long.
The difficulty is already sufficiently problematic while it is ties on the Mainland that are being examined, which are complicated even further when the Isles are added. What though seems to be missing is what management experts call ‘synergies,’ that is synthetic energies arising from various fields, for instance if there is participation of stakeholders in a multidimensional way, not just one track relationship of athletes and organizers. For instance there was no mention of a sponsoring company in the regional athletics meet.
Evidently it isn’t necessary that no contest in any sports or games can take place unless there are sponsors, for organizations like AT or TOC and others can bring about a lively event even in the absence of organizations like Vodacom or TBL, etc. But it also remains a fact that advertising helps both the sport and the individuals participating, as an event that is being awaited attracts a larger public, brings scores of youths to anticipate much.
Awaiting runners say from Kenya or Ethiopia is one thing, hear of local newcomers and what organizers expect from them, not just be surprised that someone ran the distance in record time, etc.
Didn’t the youths have backgrounds in school, sports academy, youth tourney, regional events and then be selected to a national squad? Why should these preliminaries be forgotten or not being pursued, except that the tourney is just suddenly taking place, without mental preparation of an audience? Is forfeiting commerce useful?