THE 2020 Olympic Games’ qualifying period has been opened since January 2019, but no serious action has been taken in terms of awareness and preparations.
It was just a glimpse of awareness when Athletics Tanzania (AT) announced it has completed paying athletes their arrears and other benefits to motivate and boost their preparations for the World Cross country championship in Denmark.
The athletes who were paid included six women who performed well in the World Cross Country Championship held in 2017 in Ugandan capital, Kampala.
The athletes received a total of 4.8m/-from 6,000 US Dollar issued to AT by the World Athletics governing body, IAAF.
As stated by AT President, Anthony Mtaka, the federation decided to pay them first before letting them engage in various international events, the move that was seen to have restored their faith on their federation and its officials.
We were delighted to see AT fulfilling its promises and paying the athletes what they deserved.
But other than that, a little has been done recently that seems to match a period when the whole country was highly motivated and reunited when marathoner, Alphonce Simbu finished fifth in the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
We see the awareness or motivational campaign that took the country by Simbu after his Rio de Janeiro feat seems to slackening, hence needs to be revived so that our medal-haul goal is achieved in Japan next year.
We are yet to see much from the committee formed by the government through the then Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Nape Nnauye, that was tasked to fast-track the Tokyo 2020 campaign so that Tanzania performs well in the Tokyo games.
But, there are several things to consider when implementing the Tokyo 2020 campaign, but the most importantly is to broaden it and make it nationwide. In athletics, there are several ignored disciplines such as field events, which previously brought us medals. Javelin, shot put and discus are among them.
Zakayo Marekwa and Matilda Kisava earned Tanzania five All African Games and Commonwealth medals in the 1970s and 80s.
Others like high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot put, hammer throw, archery or weightlifting can also bring us medals if we start preparing the athletes now.
To achieve all these, the government should involve private and government institutions in scouting for talented athletes and groom them to the desired standard. A medal haul in Tokyo 2020 is very possible, let us all play our respective.