Hockey association cherishes Olympic Day

26Jun 2018
The Guardian
Hockey association cherishes Olympic Day

TANZANIA Hockey association (THA) has expressed delighted that this year’s Olympic Day celebration, which took place in Dar es Salaam last weekend, played a crucial role in the body’s efforts to spread the sport in the country by attracting new young players.

Tanzania’s national junior women hockey team poses for picture during a recent African tournament in Kenya.

Mnonda Magani, who serves as the THA vice-chairman, disclosed about 60 new young players turned up for the event at the Magereza Ukonga grounds in the city.

“We got new young players that came to take part in the sport for the first time, they were brought here by their fellows who play the sport regularly. The new young players were put in a separate ground and learnt the sport’s basics,” he said.

“We have always been encouraging the players to invite their fellows to participate in the sport.”     

The event geared towards enhancing the sportsmanship spirit and uniting children from different backgrounds by promoting the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence. 

The THA official, moreover, said the Olympic Day's celebration turned out to be a success as scores of students from across the city took part in it.

"We had about 400 youngsters from 12 schools from across the city in the celebration, this year's event was unique given a lot of youngsters turned up for it and showcased strong passion for the sport," he said. 

"Much as we encountered several challenges, we dealt with them and smoothly hosted the celebration, the good thing is every kid, who turned up for the celebration, played hockey."  

The national hockey governing body, as disclosed by Magani, had to celebrate the day at the Magereza Ukonga grounds as efforts to access the Uhuru Stadium ended in vain.

Other regions, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Mwanza and Arusha, which are also active involved in promotion of hockey, celebrated the Olympic Day.

Italy-based non-governmental organization Weworld in cooperation with another organization OCODE, sponsored the Olympic Day's celebration in Dar es Salaam, Lindi and Mwanza.

The day's celebration in Kilimanjaro and Arusha was backed by companies and other sports enthusiasts.

A workshop on gender equality and healthy practices, conducted by OCODE, also took place in the day.  

At the completion of the event, the participants were presented with certificates which were signed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, and Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) president Ghulam Rashid.

 "This will not only be a consolation but also an effort to encourage young children to be physically active, as we try to build a better world through sports," THA assistant secretary Jasdeep Babhra said.  

"The THA is proud to have celebrated the Olympic Day in Tanzania with many other countries around the world."

National senior women hockey team’s coach, Italian Valentina Quaranta, said the Olympic Day will go a long way in boosting efforts by the national hockey governing body to promote the sport.

Magani further said THA was pleased that the youngsters who participated in the Olympic Day celebration understood the core values of Olympics.

“As THA is now promoting the sport in schools, most of the youngsters do not know the values of Olympics, we have, thus, been pleased that a hockey coordinator from the TOC attended the event and imparted the Olympics’ values to the youngsters,” he said.

He also said THA is targeting to promote the sport to more schools in the country with the aim of increasing the number of hockey players.  

“We now have six regions which are actively involved in promotion of hockey, we want to increase the number of regions by spreading the sport to primary, secondary schools and colleges,” he disclosed.

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