Geay pulls out of WA event to focus on Olympic Games

Gabriel Geay of Tanzania crosses the finish line to emerge the runner-up during the 127th Boston Marathon held on April 17, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. in the United States. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Geay, together with another Tanzanian top runner Alphonce Simbu, were named to represent the country in the 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships

Dar es Salaam. Top long distance runner in the country Gabriel Geay has opted not to compete in the World Athletics (WA) Championships scheduled to take place at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary.

Geay, together with another Tanzanian top runner Alphonce Simbu, were named to represent the country in the 19th edition of the WA Championships scheduled to start from August 19 to 27 at the Hungary’s National Athletics Centre.

Speaking with The Citizen yesterday, Athletics Tanzania (AT) secretary general Jackson Ndaweka said Geay has opted to turn focus on the next year’s Paris Olympic Games starting from July 26 to August 11 at the Stadium Stade de France.

Ndaweka said Geay is yet to win a medal in any Olympic Games and by competing at the WA Championships will make him feature in three long distance events and prohibit him from competing in the next Paris Games as per the rules and regulations.

“Geay has submitted his programme on competing in three international long distance events including the Olympic Games next year. We have agreed because his aim is to promote the country at the Games, which Tanzania has so far won only two silver medals since the 1980 Moscow Games through Filbert Bayi and Suleiman Nyambui,” said Ndaweka.

According to the AT official, Simbu, who is the first to qualify for the WA Championship early  this year, will compete in the event together with other runners to be named later as it was announced earlier.

Simbu secured the qualifying mark at the Osaka Marathon held in Japan, where he recorded 2:06:19 to finish third.

Geay secured the WA Championship mark following his impressive performance at the Boston Marathon in the US, where he recorded 2:06.04 to finish second.

Apart from that, the runners also secured the qualifying mark for the next year’s Olympic Games.

"The Budapest meet has many events, including 5,000m and 10,000m races. We have many runners who feature in the events, but they are yet to secure the qualifying marks, making the country have only two runners," he said.

According to IOC and WA, a male marathoner should get a time of 2:08:10, while a female athlete should get a time of 2:26:50. The Budapest event is the 19th edition, according to the history of the WA Championships.

The city of Budapest had previously shown interest in hosting the 2007 WA Championships but withdrew, and they were eventually held in Osaka.

He said the two runners are now in intensive training ahead of the events, which will also feature world-class athletes.

"I can say that the runners are in good shape ahead of the events and I believe they will record the best results.

“They have done their best in the few international competitions that have passed to make the country proud," he said.

 Meanwhile, World Athletics (WA) has said they will release the World Rankings after the qualification period ahead of the event.