Dar reacts to 2020 Olympics, Paralympics postponement 

26Mar 2020
Joseph Mchekadona
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Dar reacts to 2020 Olympics, Paralympics postponement 

SPORTS associations which were set to produce athletes that will represent Tanzania at the 2020 Olympics and 2020 Paralympics have expressed mixed reactions to the Games’ postponement.

Some of domestic athletes feature in training at National Stadium in Dar es Salaam recently to prepare for domestic and international competitions. PHOTO; CORRESPONDENT JUMANNE JUMA

The Games which were scheduled to take place in Japan in June, have been rescheduled to next year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tanzania was to be represented by athletes from sport discipline that include athletics, boxing, judo, Paralympics, swimming and other sports codes in the Games.

Two local athletes Alphonce Simbu and Failuna Matanga are the ones that have qualified for the Olympic Games while the rest were in the process of seeking qualification.

Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) Secretary General, Filbert Bayi, asked local sports associations to treat the development as positive to the country.

He said sports associations should now focus on preparing their athletes well ahead of next year’s Olympics.

In an interview, which took place in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Athletics Tanzania (AT) Information Officer, Tullo Chambo, said although his association invested a lot in preparations for athletes, they have welcomed the development as it touches the lives of athletes and everyone involved in sports.

He also said the postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympics will help them prepare a team of athletes who can compete well at the next year Games.

Chambo,further said the association will look for more qualifying events so as by next year the country will have more athletes who will secure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

"Yes , we invested a lot in preparing our athletes for this year’s Tokyo Olympics,if you remember we paid advance to a high attitude training center in Kenya so that our athletes can prepare well for the Games,’’ he disclosed.

‘’But now the Olympics have been postponed, we can not complain as this was done for the interest of all people in the world," he said.

He also said he is not sure if AT will demand a refund of the training fee from Kenya, saying it is too early for the former to decide on the next step.

Tanzania Paralympic Committee (TPC) Secretary General Tuma Dandi said no Paralympics athlete have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics and they will now focus on qualifying games.

He also said this is the opportunity for them to look for financial support from the government and stakeholders for Paralympics athletes to qualify for the Paralympic Games Japan, scheduled for next year.

"To us, this is a blessing in disguise, I have said so because no any local Paralympics athlete has qualified for the Paralympic Games,’’ he disclosed.

‘’We were facing a lot of challenges especially in looking for finances for our athletes to compete at qualifying events, now I think it is time for us to prepare well by among other things look for financial support from the government and stakeholders so that our athletes can smoothly compete at qualifying events," he said.

The government of Japan and International Olympic Committee(IOC)on Tuesday announced the reschedule of the Tokyo 2020 Games to next year due to Coronavirus pandemic.

The change of the Games’ dates was made clear after Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach had held a discussion through phone.

They said the Tokyo 2020 Games must be re-scheduled not later than the summer of 2021 to safeguard the health of athletes and everybody involved.

It was agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and the Olympic flame could become a light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds at the moment.

It was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.

It was also agreed that the next year Games will be known as Japan 2020 Olympics," part of a joint press release from IOC and Government of Japan disclosed.