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How prepared are we for London Olympics?

24th March 2012
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Editorial cartoon

The London Olympics are just around the corner and the Tanzania team is supposed to be in serious preparations.

The performance of our athletes at this global stage has been generally disappointing for an embarrassingly long time.

Both officials and athletes have repeatedly given inadequate or preparation as the reason for our representatives leaving for the Games and finally returning home empty-handed.

It is not that we want to deflate the athletes’ morale, but we deem it of utmost importance to underscore the need for serious and well-coordinated training if we are to win any medals from the Olympics or any other regional, continental or international sports events.

Winning Olympic medals has been an especially rare feat for Tanzanian athletes, and this is simply not acceptable. Helplessly looking on as athletes representing other countries haul golds, silvers and bronzes when we have none really hurts.

Home sports lovers are understandably bored stiff with the shoddy display of our representatives at international sports championships, most notably soccer and athletics, and the only way to make them smile is to participate and emerge victorious.

The decades-long losing streak must come to an end, and this means we should start with the London Olympics. We have no excuse, as the Games have not been prepared on ad hoc basis, and we have had all the time in the world to line ourselves up properly.

Tanzania Olympic Committee secretary general Filbert Bayi, himself a legendary athlete, knows exactly what it takes for an athlete to win medals at high-profile championships. His Athletics Tanzania counterpart, Suleiman Nyambui, similarly boasts vast international experience in athletics.

The Bayi-Nyambui combination should help in guiding our athletes to improved performance, preferably sparkling and thus doing our nation proud.

Should it be that London is too near for that, then the duo could at least start thinking of strategies through which to “clear the way” before the next such Games as well as other tournaments.

Little is known about how many of our athletes have attained Olympics standards. It is therefore crucial that we dispatch to London only those athletes who have qualified for the Games to avoid embarrassment.

It’s of paramount importance for the nation to be represented by a competent team, no matter how small, as what matter most is the ability to perform to satisfaction.

Rather than dispatch to London half-baked athletes, it is a million times better that we buy time while preparing for the next Olympics - in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

TOC and AT officials know what happened during the Beijing Olympics four years ago. It was a debacle. They should aim for a much better display.

Post-event excuses such as “poor preparations” should not be entertained as we have had more than enough of them. After all, why go to war if you know you will surely lose?

Our representatives in London ought to know that they bear huge responsibilities, and it’s not merely a matter of making a foreign tour.

We should take a leaf from Kenyan athletes, who have repeatedly performed wonders at international championships. Their success chiefly results from based on rigorous and disciplined training – no magic!

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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