Dar es Salaam. Team Tanzania start their medal search at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Thursday when the country’s swimming ace, Hilal Hemed Hilal competes in the men’s 50m freestyle.
Hilal has no fear in facing the world’s biggest names in his quest for medals at the Games, which start tomorrow in Gold Coast, Australia.
Instead, the swimmer is relishing the prospect of swimming against the crème da crème of swimmers from around the world, according to his coach, Khalid Rushaka.
“He knows that he must get the better of them (top swimmers from other countries) in the 50m freestyle battle for a podium finish,” Rushaka told The Citizen by phone from Australia yesterday.
Speaking yesterday, Tanzania swimming team coach, Khalid Rushaka said Hilal is now gearing in the Gold Coast Commonwealth village and he is ready for the event.
On his part, Hilal said he was in great shape, raring to leave a mark at the multi-sport event.
“Finishing top three is certainly a daunting task when you’re up against the world and Olympic champions,” he said.
“But, I’m going to try because winning a medal in Australia is my ultimate target this year,” he said confidently.
“I’ve been pushing myself even more in the training to raise my standard.”
In athletics, Tanzania will start its medal search on April 8 when Ali Khamis Gulam competes in the men’s 100m race.
Tanzania’s team chef de mission Yusuph Singo said yesterday that Gulam was in high spirits ahead of the race.
Gulam will also battle it out for a medal in the 200m race in Goal Coast.
Ahead of tomorrow’s opening ceremony, thousands of competitors and support staff are pouring in to their temporary home on Australia’s eastern coast.
Organisers hope to make the village as comfortable and safe as possible for the 6,600 athletes and team officials -- and that includes their sexual health.
The large number of free condoms equates to about 34 per person, a robust average of three a day over the 11 days of competition.
At the recent Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea, organisers handed out 110,000 free condoms -- a Winter Games record -- while 450,000 were on offer at the Rio Olympics.
At the Gold Coast village, competitors can relax with virtual reality computer games, and swim.