Dar es Salaam. As the World Swimming’s governing body (Fina) has announced the initial qualifying requirements for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Tanzania’s top male swimmer Collins Saliboko needs to cut his time by less than one minute to meet the 200m and 100m butterfly criteria respectively.
Collins, who won a bronze medal in the just-ended English Summer Championships after clocking 26.44 in the men’s 50m butterfly at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, has to improve his time by six seconds in 100m butterfly to meet Tokyo’s “B” qualifying time. He has now clocked 59.11 as he eyes Tokyo’s Olympic “B” qualifying time of 53.52.
In the 200m butterfly, Collins needs to improve his time for 12 seconds in order to meet “B” qualifying time. He is now clocked 2.12.60 while Tokyo’s qualifying time is 2.01.03.
In Tokyo’s “A” qualifying time, Collins needs to score not less than 14 seconds to meet the “A” qualification in 200m, which is 1.56.48. He also needs to score eight seconds to meet the “A” qualifying time in 100m respectively.
Collins, who finished 11th in the United Kingdom (UK) swimming championships in 100m butterfly after clocking 59.11 in the event held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, still has time to cut down the remaining time and become the first Tanzanian swimmer to meet the qualification criteria.
The 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 at the New National Stadium. Tanzania always fields swimmers in both Olympic and Commonwealth games through the Universality Places. This has been caused by lack of swimming facilities, including modern Fina-approved 50-mete swimming pools.
Collins’ father Phillip Saliboko promised to make sure his son meets the qualifying time and make history in the game. Saliboko said that Collins was still young, expressing his belief that he would secure qualifying time before the Tokyo event.
“He loves the game and has the spirit to develop his career. His dream is to become the greatest swimmer in the world. He made it in both the English Summer and British championships where there were so many great swimmers and also managed to excel in open events that improved his personal best (PB) time.
“St. Felix School coach Sue Purchase and others have helped him to improve his time. I am sure he will continue with the same spirit and make history for the country,” said Saliboko.
Dar es Salaam Swimming Club (DSC) Secretary General Inviolata Itatiro commended Collins for the improvements and expressed belief the the swimmer would secure the qualifying time in the remaining two years.
“The target is to meet ‘A’ qualification time; Collins has proven that Tanzania can make history and meet the criteria. We need to inspire him as he is talented and can do wonders,” said Inviolata.