Huge turn up for Zanzibar athletes

As high as 55 athletes from Zanzibar are expected to turn up in this year’s national championships that gets underway at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam this weekend.

Zanzibar Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) secretary general Hamis Gullam said the Isles’ athletes left for Dar es Salaam on Wednesday evening to gear up for the showdown.

He said the athletes will camp at the Salvation Army hostels throughout the two-day event set to start today.

Gullam, who is among the officials accompanying the athletes, promised to unveil the squad once the athletes have settled down.

Much is expected from Zanzibar athletes as they again seek to impress at the premier athletics meet.

Beside the search for medals, the event also gears up towards promotion of the sport and preparation ahead of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in October.

Zanzibar’s Urban West region is the defending champion of the event and will possibly be looking forward to bid successful title defense.

For the past two back-to-back years, Urban West held sway in the championship.

ZAAA had earlier this year requested to host the event at the recently refurbished Amaan Stadium but Athletics Tanzania (AT) turned down their request.

The championships, which are held annually, have also attracted all regions.

Participating athletes are expected to make full use of modern facilities at the state-of-the-art stadium, an opportunity that is crucial for their development in the sport.

A handful of budding athletes, who participated in the recent national inter-secondary schools sports competition (Umisseta), are expected to represent their respective regions and enjoy a stint at the more competitive stage.

Top athletes on their part, will use the event to shape themselves up ahead of continental athletics championship scheduled for July through August in Nairobi.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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