Government permits Simbu to opt out of 2018 Commonwealth Games

17Jan 2018
Joseph Mchekadona
The Guardian
Government permits Simbu to opt out of 2018 Commonwealth Games

THE government has finally accepted that top local athlete, Alphonse Simbu, will not be in the team that will participate in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Alphonse Simbu

Director of Sports in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Yusuf Singo, said the government has accepted Simbu’s reasons for opting out of representing the country in the games.

He said the athlete requested the government and athletics stakeholders not to include him in the squad as he wants to concentrate on the preparations for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other games.

The government official said Simbu, who won bronze in last year’s IAAF World Championships in London, will this year compete in the IAAF World Half Marathon which will be held in Valencia, Spain on 24 March 24, and London Marathon on 22 April.

“Yes, he will not be in the team which is going to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, he asked us to allow him so that he can prepare well for the 2020 Olympics, London Marathon and other events, we have accepted his request, I hope his absence in the team will give other athletes the chance to don the national colors,” he said.

The government statement has put to rest the wrangle which existed following Simbu’s request to opt out of the Commonwealth Games.

  1. Tanzania (AT) had insisted that the athlete should be given time to rest and prepare well for other top events while government and Tanzania Olympics Committee (TOC) said he should represent the country in the Gold Coast Games.

AT, government and TOC, on Saturday had a meeting in which they agreed to permit the athlete to miss the games.

AT, through its secretary general Wilhelm Gidabuday, said Simbu should look forward to and prepare for the 2019 IAAF Doha World Championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, insisting the association aims at seeing to it he becomes the first Tanzanian to win gold medal in Olympics.

“We are against the idea of Simbu competing in the Commonwealth Games, our experts have advised that it will not be good for him to compete, he failed to compete in the 2014 Glasgow Games as he was injured and people must also know that running is not more of physical but also self-esteem,” the AT official disclosed.

“We want others to compete at the Gold Coast games so that he can prepare well for other games , yes, all Tanzanians are banking on him to bring a medal home , it’s an honor and proud for the country to win medal at the commonwealth games.”

“We must also think of the personal benefit he will get in the London Marathon…he is an elite runner which means he has an appearance fee at the London Marathon.”

He disclosed that Tanzania’s quota at the Gold Coast Commonwealth games is six athletes while 10 qualified for the event.

Simbu had previously said he is not ready to compete in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, saying he needs to focus his energy on the London Marathon which can also help him improve his personal best time and earn some good monies unlike the Commonwealth Games in which athletes are only given allowances.

He also pointed out he needs good preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He moreover said he wants to rest as he has competed in three Commonwealth Games in a row and he is of the view that other athletes should be given a chance.

“Why is it that people are failing to understand me and AT, the association’s officials are experts who know what they are doing, such countries like Ethiopia and Kenya do not send elite runners to some events including Commonwealth Games because they want them to rest and prepare for other big events but it seems Tanzanians are ready,” he said.