EIGHT Tanzanian athletes will be on the mark, launching their journey of chasing medals as the IAAF World Athletics Championships starts today to August 13th in London, UK.
After disappointing campaigns in 2009 Berlin, German, 2011 Daegu, Korea, 2013 Moscow, Russia and 2015 Beijing, China in which Tanzania performed dismally, many expect that the Athletics Tanzania (AT) have taken good lessons and have prepared the team adequately for the London championships.
The only medal Tanzania has ever won in the event was in 2005 edition, when Christopher Isegwe won silver in Helsinki, Finland. Certainly, this is not a good record for the country endowed with talented athletes.
AT Deputy Secretary General, Ombeni Zavalla said shortly before the team’s departure to London on Tuesday that all athletes are in great shape and high spirit to battle hard for the top honours.
The team of seven runners led by Captain Felix Alphonce Simbu departed, while Emmanuel Giniki, who will compete in the 5,000m race, failed to travel with his colleague because he is yet to complete some travelling procedures.
However, Zavalla said Giniki will travel to London tomorrow alongside the team head Coach Zakaria Barie and join the rest of the team ready to battle for medals in the world championships, which brings together over 2,000 elite athletes from all over the world.
Apart from Simbu, who finished fifth in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, other athletes in the squad are Stephano Huche and Said Makula, who will compete in 42km full Marathon.
The list also has Gabriel Geay, who will compete in 5,000 meters, while Sara Ramadhani and Magdalena Shauri, are envoys in women’s full marathon. There is also Failuna Abdi, who will chase 10,000m title and assistant coach Francis John.
Tanzania runners, who are confident of breaking the longtime jinx of medals drought will begin their medal hunt tomorrow in the 10,000 metres race in women discipline, whereby Failuna Abdi will be on track.
Tanzania will be eyeing for medals in the marathon event on Sunday whereby four of its runners led by the team captain Simbu, will compete against the best male and female runners respectively in Central London.
The men’s marathon will get underway at 10:55am, while the women’s marathon runners setting off later the same day at 14:00.
The course starts and finishes at Tower Bridge and comprises four laps of a six-mile stretch that will see competitors heading west along Victoria Embankment towards the Houses of, then back alongside the River Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral before returning via the Tower of London.
It’s the first time the IAAF World Championships has staged two marathons back-toback on the same day. On the ninth day of the London event on August 12, Giniki and Gaey will be on track in the 5,000m race competing with Sir Mo Farah, who all eyes will be on him as the five-times world champion retires from the track to focus on road racing after these championships.
The IAAF and IPC 2017 World Championships is the London’s biggest sport event to be hosted in the British capital since the 2012 Olympics Games.