THE Zone Five Under-18 Athletics Championship that climaxed at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam over the weekend was a huge success to Tanzania as evidenced the worthiness of the Inter-Secondary School Games.
The Inter-Secondary School, UMISSETA athletes helped Tanzania to finish close second behind the strong Kenyan team. Despite all what termed as success, the championship was disgustingly poorly attended to the disappointment of the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, who graced the prize-giving ceremony.
Annoyed to see poor attendance, Minister Mwakyembe warned the organisers, Athletics Tanzania (AT) to ensure it doesn’t happen again next time. The ‘Daily News’, as a key stakeholder and a chief player in promoting sports, we are forced to support what observes suggested as a solution to end the poor attendance.
Observers and athletics enthusiasts saw poor promotion and lack of sponsorship as the causes of the setback. What stunned Minister Mwakyembe was logical since athletics is traditionally a school or college level sport that normally involves young players, hence he was right to question the absence of students and their parents as major audience.
In fact, almost all athletes are students and all of them are fruits of the Inter-Secondary School Games. Since athletics is the major medal hopes in the renewed nationwide campaign for Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, investment, sponsorship of events or athletes and promotion of the sport can help the sport draw big audience in terms of both spectators and sponsors.
To achieve all these the athletics governing body, AT should find means of ending financial and sponsorship woes once it wants to have better and successful tournament next time. The AT President, Anthony Mtaka admitted that lack of sponsorship was a big hurdle because those he approached and promised to support it didn’t respond at all.
To solve this AT and athletics stakeholders should work closely to lure them and convince them to support it, but they should as well find means to reward their support.