Women athletes envision Paris Olympics

WOMEN athletes are heading for a new dawn that envisions the Olympic Games of Paris, France in 2024, as depicted through the two-day Women Athletic Championship held recently in Benjamin Mkapa, Dar es Salaam.

The championship is among the strategies to prepare a team for the Paris Games, according to the organizers, Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC).

It was a highly productive event whose, among its target was also to prepare good sprinters.

Among the best sprinters emerged is young woman Winfrida Makenji who won gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprint; her victory led the Unguja North Region team to secure the overall winners of the games.

Another remarkable feat in the sprint was the 4x 100m relay whose winner was again Unguja North Region team, which included Makenji and her three colleagues.

Field events excelled in the two-day completion and it was another Zanzibari Mwana-Amina Hassan who won the javelin’s gold medal while her teammate Jane Maige won the 400m race and the region went on to claim silver in the same discipline.

Tanzania’s athletics pillar head Arusha finished overall runner-up this time after collecting four gold medals and four bronzes.

Magdalena Shauri won three gold medals alone in the 800m and 1500m races while the long-distance heroine was Jakline Sakilu who clinched gold medals in the 5000m and 10,000m races. Coast region finished third overall after winning three silvers and one bronze medal.

The competition was organised by the National Sports Council (NSC) in collaboration with the Japan International Development Agency (JICA). The competition involved about 186 women athletes from 31 regions of Tanzania Mainland Tanzania and the Isles.

The competition was attended by over 1000 students from Primary and Secondary schools based in Temeke Municipality.

The Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special groups, Dorothy Gwajima was there to bless the competition. As, she graced the competition, she called on parents to allow their children to participate in sports so that they can showcase their talents.

She said that if children, especially girls, participate in sports and show their talents, it will lead them to acquire employment and help to raise their families’ economy.

“Sports bring inspiration in development, I appeal to parents to know that if children participate in sports, they will show their talents and get jobs that will help them economically,” she said.

Adding, she said in terms of gender equality, women are left behind in sports because they are facing many family responsibilities and they do not get enough time to participate in sports.

Therefore, she added, education should be provided so as to create awareness on how they can manage time doing both family responsibilities as well as engaging themselves in sports. “It is the right time for women to participate in sports in large numbers as President Samia has invested more in sports, arts, energy, water, and health sector,” she noted.

The Minister also vowed to continue cooperation with the stakeholders of the competition, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the city of Nagai in Japan in honouring young women with talents.

The National Sports Council Executive Secretary (NSC), Neema Msitha also witnessed the closing ceremony of the two–day competition and in her remarks, she also urged sports associations to invest more in young women athletes, especially girls. She said the main goal is to organize many competitions that will build the players’ skills and experience so that they can do well in local and foreign competitions.

“The main goal of this competition is to ensure that we increase and motivate the participation of women in sports, so I ask the players to increase efforts in practicing, make sure you set aside enough time for practice,” she said.

While addressing this, she also asked the women athletes to increase their efforts by training daily so that they can become more competent.

Moreover, she outlined the aim of organizing the two-day competition is to increase motivation in the participation of women in sports.

Msitha has also shown gratitude to the partners who have sponsored the competition. She has also thanked the Ministry for Culture, Arts and Sports for permitting them to stage the competition at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.

“I thank all partners who have contributed to the success of this competition and I also thank the Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Sports for permitting us to stage the competition at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.

It is great pleasure to also see some Primary and Secondary Schools in Temeke Municipal being allowed to witness the competitions, ‘’she said .

On his part, the JICA representative in Tanzania, Naofumi Yamamura, said that the competition aimed at promoting gender equality, especially after discovering that women have been marginalized in sports.

He said that the situation did not satisfy them and NSC, which is the main reason they partnered and supported the competition; believing that it was a great opportunity to bring out new talents of young women athletes.

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