Athletics garners boost as Serengeti Premium Lager sponsors marathon

14Sep 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Athletics garners boost as Serengeti Premium Lager sponsors marathon

SERENGETI Breweries Limited (SBL) has once again, via Serengeti Premium Lager brand, been on the spotlight as it continues on the trail of providing sponsorships to various sectors in the country.

Rorya District Commissioner, Simon Odunga (5th L), cuts a ribbon to mark an official launch of the 2020 Serengeti Migration Marathon that was held in Seregeti District, Mara last week. Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) was the main sponsor of the race, via Serengeti Premium Lager brand, aiming at conserving the Serengeti ecosystem, promoting tourism and creating opportunities for the local community in Tanzania. PHOTO; CORRESPONDENT

The most recent is the brand’s shot-in-the-arm to athletics by sponsoring the Serengeti Migration Marathon held at Mugumu Town in Serengeti District, Mara.

Fondly referred to as 'The Great Migration Serengeti Marathon', the annual athletics bonanza is held in held in the world-famous Serengeti National Park where large herds of wildebeests migrate between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The race attracts scores of tourists who visit to witness one of the world’s Seven Wonders.

The Great Migration Serengeti Marathon’s mantra, according to the organizers, is to ‘Promote Ecosystem and Promote Tourism’.

The SBL partnered with Serengeti Tourism Sports Agency (SETSA), the custodian of the marathon which described the event’s objectives as being to, among others, sensitize the community and the public living within the conservation area of the Serengeti Observatory on the need to preserve the park.

The event, as well, targets to help to identify and provide a platform in which new local athletics talents will be unveiled.

The race boosts tourism in the Western Serengeti circuit and the entire country.

The marathon moreover raises funds towards the cultural tourism initiative and, in the process, creates opportunities for the current and future generations to learn and grow.

Suffice it to say that the Serengeti Premium Lager sponsorship for the marathon is significant because, among other factors, Serengeti and indeed the entire Western Zone could aptly be described as ‘the cradle’ of Tanzanian athletics.

The area is perceived as home to some of the country’s athletics champions of yore.

Tanzania's athletics narrative cannot be completely told without proud, nostalgic references to the memorable exploits of such heroes as Filbert Bayi and Suleiman Nyambui.

The two clinched silver medals in men’s 3,000m steeple-chase and 5,000m race respectively at Moscow Olympics in 1980.

Neither can sports enthusiasts in the country forget the incredible John Stephen Akhwari whose memorable moments of ‘Finish the Race, Not Just Start It!' in marathon at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City still inspirationally captures the mood of world athletics to this day, 52 years later!   

All those pacesetters in international athletics competitions hail from the western trail, a factor that buttresses the need to boost athletics in the region.

The region evidently boasts of an enviable pool of untapped athletics talents-alongside other areas across the country.

According to Serengeti Premium Lager brand manager Anitha Rwehumbiza, SBL recognizes the need to boost not only athletics in the country but the entire sports sector.

She said the firm not only plays a pivotal in the development of the nation’s youthful generation but also contributes to the nation's development.

“We have taken this important step knowing very well the important role that sports play in the nation’s socio-economic development,'' she noted.

''We believe that by supporting The Great Migration Serengeti Marathon, we are contributing to not only the growth of the sports sector but also in reinvigorating local athletics whose resurgence Tanzanians are so keen to witness”, she disclosed.

Serengeti District Commissioner, Nurdin Babu, thanked SBL for sponsoring the marathon, noting the company’s stakeholder role in supporting the sports sector in the country is worth of praise.

On the whole, Serengeti Premium Lager’s financial backing is significant because it comes at a time when athletics begs for rejuvenation in Tanzania, if the current dire situation is anything to go by.

Local athletics pales in comparison with other sports, especially soccer, and only elicits some nuggets of excitement when there is such sponsorships for The Great Serengeti Migration Marathon and other races.

Needless to say, it is the same sad stories of ‘near-misses’ in athletics in regional and international competitions where Tanzania takes up a distant rear, trailing her regional counterparts, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda.

It is now hoped that SBL’s apparent ‘magic wand’ that propels unprecedented success whenever it sponsors will reveal itself once more in athletics and thrust the sport into the limelight and to its past glory.

Three years ago, SBL, through its flag-ship beer brand, Serengeti Premium Lager, sponsored the senior national men’s soccer team, Taifa Stars.

The firm entered an agreement with the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) in which the beer-makers supported the squad thus propping up the team’s fortunes that elevated it to international soccer status.

Winning most of its regional and international fixtures, the team gradually triumphed to international glory by booking a place in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Championships held in Egypt last year.

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