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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Bayi hits back at Minister`s critics

29th February 2012
TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi

Tanzania Olympics Committee (TOC) secretary general Filbert Bayi said the Government shoulders blamed for the ever dwindling of athletics standards.

He said it’s high time the Government should ensure that school games are given top priority for athletics to improve.

Bayi was responding to the blanket accusations by the Minister for Information, Youth, Sports and Culture, Emmanuel Nchimbi, in connection with athletes flop during the just ended Kilimanjaro Marathon last Sunday.

Nchimbi openly blamed Athletics Tanzania (AT) for the poor standard of the game in the country. The minister said AT has failed to develop athletics in the country and asked leaders of the association to step down so that others can take over from where they have left.

The minister accused the AT during his speech at the prize presentation ceremony when Kenyan athletes dominated the podium proceedings to take home all Marathon prizes for men and women.

The Kenyans dominated the top ten standings for male and female in full and half marathon save for Fabian Joseph and Mary Naali who finishing third and fifth in half marathon, categories respectively.

The minister expressed his disappointment over the way AT is operating and queried whether talent identification is being carried out.

In a telephone interview, Bayi, the former 1,500 meters World record holder, said the Government must be blamed for the low standard of athletics as a result of halting sports in schools for eight years.

He said the Government is responsible despite reviving the sports policy in schools effective 2008 but without inadequate support.

"Look at the UMISETA games, there is nothing which we can be proud of. It needs the Government full support so that we can revive the tempo and have many players who will be our future athletes," he said.

Bayi said everywhere in the world sports talents are nurtured in schools but the country decided to chop off sports subjects without weighing the resultant impact.

Bay went on to say that the Government should not expect the national teams to perform well barely four years after reintroduction of sports policy into schools.

“All countries doing well in sports started nurturing their talents from primary and secondary schools. It all start at tender age but here we scrapped sports and still expect positive returns,” he said.

He advised the Government to give priority to the reinstated sports education subjects in primary and secondary schools which is the only way forward to produce winning athletes.

The TOC official advised the Government to embark on giving subsidies to sports associations, as currently many sports officials are volunteers.

It’s time the Government start giving them something so that so that they can dedicate their time to the development of athletes, so says Bayi.

“Majority of them have turned out to be a perpetual beggars bowel to Government and the private sector each time teams are prepared to compete in events”, he said.

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