Why disable Tanzania from disabled athletics in Commonwealth Games?

01Jan 2018
The Guardian
Why disable Tanzania from disabled athletics in Commonwealth Games?

AN additional spate of bad news was in athletics rounds recently as it was confirmed that the country's disabled athletics team has been ruled out of next year's Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast, Australia, where over 70 countries are expected to participate.

Tanzania Olympic Committee secretary general Filbert Bayi said the relevant association, the Tanzania Paralympics Committee failed to confirm participation by the set October 31 deadline for the Games, in which case that opportunity has been lost. The matter was relayed over the media but as a briefing, though it is possible it was discussed somewhere.

Since the matter was not explained in evident detail, only the structure of what was given permits an effort at comprehending the circumstances, starting with what the TOC secretary general stated. In the first place, there is an apparent apportioning of blame that is presumptively underlined in the notice, especially on account of the contrast between who is supposed to have confirmed participation, and who gives notice on subsequent failure to have done do. If the confirmation ought to have been done by TPC, why should the TOC chief executive make announcement, and perhaps in a rather non-chalant manner, washing his hands?

While there are likely to be exceptions to any rule, it is taken for granted, as protocol and sense of individual responsibility, that the one charged with confirmation also makes announcement as to what happened, as accountability. It is a matter of recognition of responsibility and ability to give a preliminary picture to the public as to any event, happy or sad as in this case, since announcement means familiarity and proximity in spirit with a specific event. Outsiders aren't supposed to announce an event that really is of concern to others while they are mere bystanders; if they do, then they were in dereliction of duty, a priori.

If the participation of disabled athletics is of such importance that the TOC secretary general announces it in person that it has failed for this coming year, then evidently he ought to have labored around it much earlier, as no alibi can be received that he wasn't aware of that event. If therefore they worked together on that issue and failed to obtain the necessary assurances or even participation fees (or membership of a specific organ of the Commonwealth Games as a whole), then it wouldn't be TPC failure but that of the TOC as well, that is the government as such. If TPC did not fail by itself in isolation, why should it be credited with the failure?

So it is opportune that the country's athletics organisations - and starting with the TOC - own up to this failure, on the basis of an understanding (civic, if one may put it) that TPC is competent enough with the local administration of the sport, creating the relevant events and organising local competitions. When it comes to international issues where the planet is involved, expecting those synergies to be found in their entire totality at TPC, where a participatory approach may also have ensured that the properly disabled play a considerable role, it might be a little distressful. There is something amiss about this failure, definitely so, in which case those in the profession and relevant ministries may seek remedies around if they are possible despite that mishap, especially if there are precedents where a waiver is possible within reasonable time.