In a surprise move, Athletics Tanzania’s (AT) secretary general Suleiman Nyambui remains optimistic of the country’s athletes in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games despite latest flop during the Kilimanjaro Marathon over the weekend.
Nyambui said the Tanzanian athletes would bounce back into form to haul medals in New Delhi given time and more training.
AT secretary general completely downplayed their poor performance in Moshi as Kenyans dictated terms to excel in the day-long show by far.
He pinned hopes on long distance runners whom he believes would perform well in India as fans at home should not be worried by gauging them on their prospects based on what happened in Moshi.
Nyambui said he has been personally impressed by the athletes who excelled in half marathon, a performance that rescued the host nation from humiliation by the visitors, especially Kenyans.
He hailed Fabian Joseph, Dickson Marwa and Damian Chopa for performing well in half marathon.
Most of the Tanzanian athletes who took part in the Kilimanjaro Marathon are also lined up for the Commonwealth Games.
AT has submitted 35 names of athletes who meet the qualifying standards of the Commonwealth Games to the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) for screening.
The number would be chopped to eleven after scrutiny. AT plans to send some athletes to Malawi and Botswana for the cross country competitions to be held in April.
The World cross country championship to be held in Poland later this month will also be used as a preparation platform for the Games in India.
AT wants to emulate Kenya’s success through excelling in athletics noting that Tanzania has many athletes who lack exposure, so says Nyambui.
“Our aim this time is to make athletics the national sport and we want the athletes to win medals”, he said.
AT has been at the centre of criticism following dismal performance of athletes at high profile events returning home empty handed.
More of the criticisms were raised during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the World Championships in Berlin last year was another event that rubbed salt on the wounds of impatient home fans.
It’s high time for the At to shuffle their cards right towards the Commonwealth Games to meet fans expectations.