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Swimmers snatch Olympics lifeline

2nd April 2012
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TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi

After being left in the cold at last Tanzania swimmers have got a lifeline to win at least one slot to represent the country at the London Olympics.

The slot has been obtained through the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that has instructed the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) to inform the Tanzania Swimming Association (TSA) of the latest development.

TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi said swimmers will have the task of fielding one player for the Games as the opportunity has arisen under the universality (tripartite) slot.

Bayi said he received the communication from IOC informing his committee on the development, but with a condition that the swimmer must be a female one.

The other condition is that she must be one of national team swimmers who represented the country at the last World Championship held in Shanghai.

Bayi was non committal on what will happen to the ticket as domestic swimmers were no show during the Shanghai Word Championship due to internal friction.

Those competing at the Olympic Games under the universality tickets do not vie for any medal and the tickets are given to sports federations with an objective to bring inspiration to build up qualification bid for the subsequent Olympics.

Bayi said TSA should keep its fingers closed as the IOC might provide another opportunity through the universality program in June ahead of the Games.

According to Bayi, the organizers will have the final list of the athletes who will compete at the Games.

Bayi said he has already informed TSA on the latest development.

However, TSA technical director Marcelino Ngalioma would not pick up his phone when contacted for his comment, as he was attending the body’s general meeting in Zanzibar.

The TOC secretary general said this is the good opportunity to the swimming fraternity in the country to prove its mettle at the international event.

He was in the opinion that the performance of the swimmers at the London Games would determine the future number of swimmers to represent the country at the 2016 Brazil Olympics.

The TSA last year submitted a request to the IOC to be considered to compete at the Games through universality (solidarity ticket) on the grounds of swimmers’ disability to meet pre-set qualifying standards.

Until last February the IOC did not respond to TSA the development which raised eyebrows that the country swimming will not compete at the global event.

This will be the second time in a row for TSA to send its athletes under the solidarity ticket to the Games after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where Tanzania swimming team participated for Grade B category.

In a related development, Bayi said his committee is committed to improve individual sports athletes in the country. He said individual sports have the potential to of winning medals.

Bayi saw off the Judo national team at the Mwalimu Nyerere International Airport on Friday, before they board a flight to Morocco where it will participate at the African Olympics qualification for London Games.

He said as one way of promoting individual sport athletes, TOC will organise many coaching seminars so that the coaches can train athletes who will in turn represent the country at international and domestic events.

“We must make sure that we improve individual sport athletes such as boxing, judo, weightlifting, swimming and other games,” he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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