Less popular sports impress in 2015

The resignation of Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) acting president, Fina Mango.
 THE last year had mixed fortunes for less popular sports disciplines in Tanzania, in which some of them made significant strides whereas others faced setbacks, which had potential to jeopardise the disciplines’ future.
Soccer and athletics are regarded as major sports disciplines in the country, in which they attract big crowds in their respective tournaments, as well as enjoying lucrative sponsorship and rewards.
Boxing, chess, netball, swimming, tennis, hockey, basketball, cricket, handball and wrestling are regarded as less popular sports disciplines.
The just ended year saw Tanzania’s athletes participate in major international events including the All African Games, which was held in Congo Brazzaville from September 4 to 19.
Tanzania participated in sports disciplines including athletics, boxing, swimming, paralympics and women soccer in the Games.
As usual, the athletes returned home empty handed but with a lot of excuses that included poor preparations.
Prior to the All Africa Games, swimmers Ammaar Ghadiyali and Hilal Hilal represented the country at FINA world junior championship, which was held in Singapore in August.
Hilal, Ghadiyali and Magdalena Moshi also represented the country at the World Championship in Russia but the trio returned home empty handed.
Tanzania Swimming Association (TSA) also managed to host national championships, as well as sending swimmers to international events.
Dar Swimming Club managed to invite South African swimming trainer Penny Hynes for clinics. The club also sent its swimmers to Dubai to take part in an international event.
There was no any good news in domestic amateur boxers as they performed miserably in the just ended year.
The boxers took part in the All African Games and returned empty handed.
There was some good news in basketball, in which the introduction of a competition dubbed Basketball Kitaa saw the sport gain its lost glory in the country. 
The event’s organisers also invited a basketball outfit from Malawi, Reject, for several international friendlies in Dar es Salaam.
The games saw Tanzania teams locking horns with the visiting team in fiercely contested matches at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club. 
Domestic basketball enthusiasts, in the end, commended organisers for a well-organised tour.
The year also saw Tanzania Olympics Committee (TOC) organise courses for handball and wrestling coaches.
This was good development considering the fact that the two sports disciplines were not active for many years.
The aim of the courses, according to TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi, was to revive the two sports disciplines.  
“With funding from the Olympic Solidarity, we have organised a course for wrestling coaches. Better training for coaches can lead to improved wrestling in the country,” the TOC official said at the closing of the ten- day training.
“This sport was very popular in Zanzibar but it is lately not played there.” The biggest improvement among less popular sports disciplines was in chess and tennis.
In chess, Tanzanian Yusuf Mdoe became the first domestic candidate master (CM) after scoring 5 points out of nine rounds at the Zone 4 & 2 chess championship, which was staged in Kampala, Uganda.
 The championship attracted 22 players from Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and hosts Uganda. Tanzania was represented by five players namely Mdoe, Godlove Kimaro, Hemed Mlawa, Primulus Kasaija and Max Munisi. Tanzania Chess Association (TCA), with funding from Spice Net Tanzania, also managed to host monthly mug tournament at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club.
There was, as well, good news to some tennis individuals, who won scholarships and also competed in many international events.
The junior tennis players, who did the country proud, include Omari Sulle, Emmanuel Mallya, Jacqueline Kayuga and Kanuti Alagwa.
The biggest setback in tennis development in the country last year was the resignation of Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) acting president, Fina Mango.
The decision by Mango to step has left TTA with no top officials, as the association’s president also resigned several years ago.
All in all, Tanzania stands to make its presence felt in the less popular sports disciplines at the international level, should the disciplines get much support.
It is the hope of every domestic sports lover that emphasis will not solely be given to football. 
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