Kigwangalla issued the statement after the completion of this year’s Ngorongoro Half Marathon, which took place in Karatu, Arusha over the weekend.
He said the event, which attracted nearly 2000 participants, is proving to be an important tourism promotion entity in its own right.
“I intend to involve other ministers especially those whose portfolios deal with Youth Development, Employment, Sports and Culture, so that we may build a center to seriously tap from sports, culture and local youths and promote the country abroad,” Kigwangalla said.
Despite suffering injuries in a recent road accident, he proved to be in good physical fitness after managing to run the entire 21 kilometers of the Ngorongoro Half Marathon, completing it in good time.
More than 1500 athletes participated in this year’s edition of the race, which was flagged off at Loduare Gates the entrance Ngorongoro Conservation Area and gateway to Serengeti National Park.
Afterwards, led by the minister, participating runners raced down past Karatu Township, onwards to Rhotia shopping center along Makuyuni-Ngorongoro road.
They turned at Rhotia Hill, returning back to Karatu where they wound up the race at Mazingira Bora ground.
Kenyan runner, Abraham Too, who completed the race in one hour, five minutes and 59 seconds, won the men’s category of the race. He was a minute behind last year’s winner, fellow countryman Joseph Mbatha.
Michael Kishiba from the National Service (JKT), who covered the distance in one hour, five minutes and 45 seconds, was second and only Tanzanian in the top three.
He was ahead of the third-placed athlete, Kenyan Festus Cheboi.
The same case applied to the female runners winning bill. Esther Chesang from Kenya topped the lot, having raced the 21 kilometers in one hour, 16 minutes and 49 seconds.
She beat Natalie Elisante from Talent Club of Arusha, who completed the round in one hour, 16 minutes and 41 seconds to finish second.
The third-placed athlete, Angelina Tsere of JKT, is also coincidentally from Arusha. She recorded one hour, 18 minutes and 57 seconds. Apparently, JKT had two top winners in the 2019 Ngorongoro Half Marathon.
For the junior runners, covering 2.5 kilometers, Lucia Mchemba from Moitengi Serengeti topped the bill in the girls’ category while Elisha Herman from Lighwa Singida was declared the boys’ category winner.
Kigwangalla, who also ran and managed to complete the main race, praised the participants and the main sponsors of the race, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) for managing to combine sports, physical exercise and tourism in one package.
The event also brought fun and excitement to the residents of Karatu, Rhotia and Ngorongoro, the minister noted.
Winners of the main race in both men and women categories pocketed 1m/- apiece while the first runners-up got 500,000/- apiece. The third-placed athletes walked away with 300,000/- apiece.
During the last year’s Ngorongoro Half Marathon, Kenyans also topped the race in the form of Joseph Mbatha that won the race in an hour, four minutes and 54 seconds.
The 2017 race’s champion, Faraja Lazaro of JKT, used 1 hour, three minutes and 42 second in laying his hands on the top honour and his record has yet to be broken.
Another Kenyan, Benard Mussa (1:05:09) completed the race in the second position. Paschal Mombo from Hanang’ (1:06:05) was a Tanzanian runner that made it to the top three.
Even in the ladies’ category, Monica Cheruto from Kenya (1:18:07) topped the bill last year, followed by Tanzanians Failuna Abdi (1:18:20) in the second position and Fadhila Salumu (1:19:58), in the third position.