Dar es Salaam. Athletics Tanzania (AT) has named 17 runners who will seek qualifying marks for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Olympic Games will be held from July 23 to August 8 next year. The event was earlier scheduled from July 24 to August 9, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AT’s list has prominent runner Magdalena Shauri, who was earlier not included after she failed to confirm participation as per AT’s directives.
Apart from Alphonce Felix Simbu and Failuna Matanga, who have already qualified for the Games, the other runners selected to search for marathon qualifying marks are Ezekiel Ngimba, Emmanuel Giniki, Saidi Makula, Augustino Sule, Sarah Ramadhani and Natalia Elisante.
The runners selected to search for 5000m and 10000m qualifying marks are Gabriel Geay, Faraja Damasi, Michael Kishiba, Josephate Joshua and Daniel Senda, Magdalena Shauri, Cesilia Ginoka and Grace Jackson. In 800m are Regina Deogratius and Hapimark Boniface Iyenda while in 200m and 400m is Ali Gulam.
AT’s Vice President (Technical), Hamad Ndee said they are still closely monitoring the runners, despite the fact that they are training with their coaches.
“In our possible squad, Simbu and Failuna have already qualified. Their task is to maintain their peaks. Those who are yet to secure qualifying marks have to train hard while taking precautions against coronavirus,” said Ndee.
Ndee said basically July next year is not far for runners due to regulations as long distance runners (marathoners) are supposed to stay three month after competing in one race.
“The interval is long and that’s why we urge the runners to maintain their peaks most of the time in order to be competitive. For instance, if you fail to secure a qualifying mark in April, you will have to wait till July,” he said.
Currently, Tanzania has only two medals from the Olympic Games in history after Filbert Bayi and SuleimanNyambui won silver medals in the Moscow Games in 1980.
It is 40 years since the legends won the medals.
“We want to break that record and set a new one. With the possible list that we have, we hope to see some runners qualify and do their best in Tokyo next year,” he said.