TOC now scraps universality ticket for Olympic Games

08Jul 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
TOC now scraps universality ticket for Olympic Games

THE Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) has said there will be no local athletes at the coming Tokyo Olympics on a universality ticket.

Marathoner, Felix Simbu, is one of Tanzania's three athletes heading for Olympics in Japan.

Gulam Rashid, TOC president, issued the statement at a forum the committee organized to mark Olympic Day in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

He said unlike in the past, when the country would send its athletes to Olympic Games on universality tickets, this time around only qualified athletes will travel to Japan for the Olympics.

The TOC official said it is the duty of the committee to ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for universality quota, but this year local sports associations asked the committee not to request for the places.

He said the national sports associations assured TOC that they will compete at Tokyo Olympics on qualifying ticket, not wild card (universality).

"This year, only three athletes will represent the country at the coming Tokyo Olympics.''

''We did not write to the IOC requesting a wild card as the national sports associations were aganist it, they insisted that it is better for domestic sportsmen and women to compete at the Olympics on qualifying tickets instead of banking on wild card," he said.

He said the move to deny the Games' participants the wild card also follows the Association of Africa National Olympic Committees (ANOCA) meeting, which was held in Malawi, where members agreed that the best and respectable way for the continent's athletes to compete at the Olympics is through qualification, not otherwise.

Tanzania's athletes to represent the country at the Tokyo Olympics are Felix Simbu, Gabriel Geay and Faulina Matanga, who are currently camping at Arusha College of Forestry, Wildlife and Tourism (Olmotonyi) under head coach, Thomas John, and other coaches.

There were plans to send the athletes to Nagai, Japan to camp for 30 days, but anonymous sources at TOC said the plans were shelved due to Coronavirus outbreak and instead, the country's athletes and officials will depart for Japan on July 29.

Henry Tandau will be the leader of delegation, Thomas John is head coach, while Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) Chairman, Gulam Rashid, and the committee's Secretary General, Filbert Bayi, are travelling to Japan to attend some functions.

Meanwhile, Gulam disclosed that the country's delegation to the Tokyo Olympics will not travel to either Rwanda or Qatar for Coronavirus vaccination as directed by the IOC.

The IOC directed that athletes travelling to Japan for the Olympics should willingly (voluntarily) be vaccinated in either Rwanda or Qatar.

"We will travel straight to Japan for the Games, the Coronavirus vaccination directed by IOC in Rwanda and Qatar is not mandatory, it is voluntary.''

''We will be tested three days before departure and, while in Japan, follow all the laid procedures which include regular testing and other things, it will be a tough job for our doctor as he will be required to test us time and again," he said.

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