A Galore of talents both in track and field events were displayed during the just ended national athletics championship staged at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last week.
More was observed in track as both short and long distance runners clocked timings that are promising and encouraging.
The championships eased the job of Athletes Tanzania of making an intensive search for athletes who can be groomed to attain Olympic standards or other high-profile international events.
It’s time now the AT technical committee (if at all it exists) went to work on modalities of developing the athletes to attain standards that might save the nation from frequent embarrassments at international tourneys.
Gone are the days when the AT waited for the self-made athletes, who would struggle through their own efforts to reach standards high enough to earn the association’s recognition.
These athletes must be assisted to reach competing standards and gain the confidence to rub shoulders with their counterparts from other countries.
Athletes who excel at the Olympics and other high-profile leagues have undergone some training or sort of curriculum to attain successful results.
The AT should regard itself privileged to have geographical closeness to Kenya, one of the world’s highly respected athletics hubs.
There is no harm in taking a leaf from Kenya on how they nurture their athletes to become a force to reckon with at international competitions.
AT should learn from the British athlete Mo Farrar who travelled all the way to Nairobi to train at high altitude with Kenyan athletes before returning to London to snatch the Olympic golf medal last month.
The AT must now set out to search for talent and then embark on rigorous training of the potential athletes into winning runners.
The talents observed during the national championships last week have clearly confirmed what we have argued all along, that with determination and will, it is possible for Tanzania to restore its lost reputation in athletics.
For many decades now we have witnessed Athletics Tanzania concentrating on long distance races while overlooking the need to train or groom short distance competitors.
Young athletes especially from Zanzibar have displayed their skills during the national championship with very promising timings in hundred and two hundred metre distances.
Besides the AT, the Tanzania Olympic Committee under leadership of president Gulam Rashid and Secretary General Filbert Bayi have also to change the training base of the athletes from Kibaha to high-altitude areas where runners can cement their stamina and perform competitively especially in time when international events are staged in low temperature countries.
It’s time to make use of our high-altitude areas in Southern and Northern Highland areas to emulate the Kenyans.
The AT and TOC must work together to reverse the trend of poor performance of our athletes at international competitions.
For victories to be achieved a proper job must be done by both the AT and TOC, instead of just calling on stakeholders to chip in with financial assistance.
They must embark on the assignment that is sure to create a winning squad, that they can expect to catch the attention of sponsors and other individuals who are really interested to improve athletics.