THERE is a lot to do for Tanzanian athletes picked for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 30, this year, or else it will be another medal-less mission.
Twenty four athletes were selected as the best performers of the national cross country championship held a fortnight ago at golf course in Moshi and will undergo further drill before selecting the best 12 for the Denmark mission.
Though most of those who emerged winners or runners up looked the heroes or heroines of the event, we still see them not too convincing to win medals as their running times seem to be far below par.
Just a simple look in times clocked by Failuna Abdi Matanga, the country’s biggest medal hope, who won the 10km race and her runner up Magdalena Shauri and the third-placed Angelina Daniel Tsere, you can get a picture why we urge for increased efforts.
Failuna won the national championship after clocking 35: 55: 99, the time which is over a minute slower than 33:48 during the IAAF World Cross-Country championship in Kampala, Uganda in 2017, where she finished 16th overall.
The winner of the 10km-race for women was a Kenyan Irene Chepel Cheptai, who clocked 31: 57 and the runner up Alice Nawowuna also from Kenya clocked 32:02 this compel Failuna to train harder to beat her personal time of 33:48 if she wants to win a medal in Aarhus.
We are also compelled to remind Failuna’s compatriots; Magdalena Shauri and Tsere who finished second and third overall that too must train harder and seriously.
Magdalena whose time in Ngorongoro cross country race is 35:20:32 clocked 35:14 in IAAF race of Kampala to end 28th while Angelina Tsere who clocked 36:45 in Moshi had better time of 35:49 in IAAF World race of Kampala.
The best three Tanzanians in the 10km-category of the cross country are Deo Faraja Damas, whose time is 30:17, Joseph Panga, who clocked 30:75 and Marco Sylvester Monco, whose time 30: 29 are a bit behind the 28: 24 clocked by Geoffrey Kipsang of Kenya who won the IAAF Cross country in Kampala in 2017. The three envoys are even slower than the time set by their fellow Tanzanian Gabriel Geay who clocked 29:47 in Kampala two years ago.
Taking the performance of the last IAAF cross-country to measure what will be the Aarhus event is very vital and we say point blank that our athletes must work harder knowing, it won’t be an easy task to beat the rest of the world.