The Minister for Information, Culture Arts and Sports, Nape Nauye, said these efforts will re-establish Tanzania’s status as athletics giant as was the case in the 1970s and 1980s.
“These efforts will re-establish the glory days witnessed in the 1970s and 1980s, when Tanzanian athletes competed with the best in the world and won top honors,” said Nauye.
His remarks were contained in a speech, read on his behalf by his Ministry's director Alex Nkenyenge during the launch of the eighth edition of the Rock City Marathon at the Serena Hotel.
The Minister asked his ministry to closely work with Athletics Tanzania and the various athletics associations to ensure that the management of the sector is streamlined, to enable the country adequately prepare its athletes for international races.
Nauye regretted that even though Tanzania has a population of over 40 million people, it could not field athletes to compete in various short and long distance races from the 100 metres to 10,000 metres.
He said the private sector has played a pivotal role to supplement the government's efforts to promote sports across the country, saying the public needs to appreciate this role.
"I congratulate the efforts being undertaken by Capital-Plus International, the organisers of event who have come forward to assist the government in developing this sector. Let us all rally behind them. As Government, I commit that we shall endeavour to support such causes," he said.
Hundreds of athletes from different countries are expected to compete, in the marathon, slated for Mwanza on September 25. The marathon is sanctioned by Athletics Tanzania (AT) and plays a crucial role in marketing the country’s tourism sector through sports.
The annual event which has been sponsored by the Africa Wildlife Trust (AWT), Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF), Sahara Media Group, Coca-Cola and Nyanza Hotel, Nyanza Bottlers, aims to promote tourism through sports.
This year's event will feature a conservation walk in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, sponsored by AWT and FCF in support of the fight against poaching of elephants for its ivory.
“We are happy to be part of the sponsors of the Marathon, because the goals of the event are in line with our company’s strategy of preventing the rise in incidents of poaching, especially of the elephant through our campaign, Okoa Wanyama Wetu; Kataa Ujangili,” said Pratik Patel, the FCF Managing Director.
Speaking at the event, event coordinatorElizabeth Riziki said this year’s marathon has been revamped to attract more participation, by making it more colourful with the addition of a carnival element that will showcase the culture of the people from the Northern Zone.
“We have organised the Nyama Choma Village, where participants and revelers can sample delicacies including the famous Sato and Nyama Choma, while listening to popular music from various Bongo artistes,” said Riziki.
She urged as many Tanzanians as possible to turn out in large numbers to support this noble cause, whose main purpose is to market our tourism products and ensure that we attract even more visitors to our country.”
The marathon comprises five categories, featuring the main event, a 21 kilometers race for men and women, a 5 kilometers corporate classic race, a 3 kilometer race for people with disabilities, a 3 kilometer race for the elderly who are 55years above, and a 2 kilometer race for children aged between 7 and 10 years.