Over 136 m/- have been spent by the Tanzania Olympics Committee (TOC) in preparation expenses of the Olympic-bound athletes ahead of boarding the London Heathrow flight on July 8.
TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi said the colossal amount has been used for accommodation, allowances and logistics for the athletes and their coaches since opening the camp in March.
The Olympic hopefuls that include runners and boxers have been camping at the Filbert Bayi Secondary Schools in Kibaha, an institution owned by Bayi himself.
According to him, judo attended TOC organised camp in Zanzibar to prepare for the Olympic qualification series staged in Morocco
He said TOC started the athletes camp early ahead of the Olympic Games qualifying series, and the camp was still open after some athletes attained the qualifying time.
He also faulted some sections of people who are accusing TOC for not preparing the London-bound athletes well. He said it is not the mandate of his committee to prepare athletes; instead it’s the duty of sports disciplines.
Bayi said TOC is the overseer of all 22 sports associations in the country and its main objective is to put strategic plans.
Organizing training courses for sports coaches, administrators and providing marketing expertise to leaders of sports associations are among other things the TOC is responsible for.
He said since coming into TOC leadership, more than 500 coaches who works with their respectable associations are beneficiaries of coaching programmes.
However, he said the TOC trained coaches can not function if the Government is not showing serious interest to develop sports in the country.
“It’s the duty of sports disciplines to prepare their teams for qualification of the Games and TOC just come in charge of the selected athletes,” said Bayi.
Deplored comments made by some people who calls for pulling out of the Games based on inadequate preparations, he said the spirit is unsportsmanship as not all Olympians win medals.
He said those who are advocating for the withdraw should know that athletes who attained qualifying games had to sweat to win the berth.
According to Bayi, withdrawing from the Games will hinder sports growth of the athletes as some of them are very young and are travelling to London not only to compete for medals but also to learn.
“Sometimes we must put aside our emotions and look at the brighter side of everything. It’s unsportsmanship to pull out the Olympic team from the Games.
The athletes will gain some experience which can be used in the future,” he said.
He also revealed that TOC technical committee agreed to camp the London- bound team at Kibaha as the weather is reminiscent to that of London during the Games, albeit the area is good for runners due to low population density.
However, Bayi said some Athletics Tanzania (AT) officials were reluctant to have a camp at Kibaha and had suggested Mbulu.
He said TOC technical committee did not object to this idea but AT officials have not followed to re-camp the team at their preferred area. Due to the delay TOC agreed the athletes’ camp should remain at Kibaha.
“Kibaha is ideal place to prepare the team as I practiced there on different occasions from 1976 to 1979 on my way to break the 1,500 metres world record in Jamaica. The place has good weather similar to that of London and other American countries,” he concluded.