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Friday, August 12, 2016

Tanzania: Trio Seek Medal Surprise in Rio

 Surprise is what Tanzanians hope to see in the 31st edition of Olympic Games when two swimmers and an athlete go into action today and tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro.

With the second envoy Hilal Hemed tabling a medal agenda in 50m freestyle at Aquatics Stadium, Magdelana Moshi, one of the only two ladies in the team, goes for action tomorrow in a renewed hunt for medal at the same venue.

But the focus will be on Sunday when the second lady, Sarah Ramadhani will run along the 42km section of Rio de Janeiro roads in a fierce chase for Women Marathon's medal. The long race analysts, however, said women marathons have always been unpredictable for three main reasons.
Any one, especially unfamiliar name, can wine due to the firstly, most top road runners tend to do just one or two marathons in any twelve-month period, making their form difficult to assess and secondly, the conditions at many major championships aren't always conducive to marathon running.

For Sarah Ramadhani there is more than urgency to win or excel in Brazilian soil for it was there where she almost ruined her entire career. She told reporters prior to her departure that she was going to prove wrong to the humiliating allegation that she used enhancing drugs when she competed there in 2014.

According to Nassor Matuzaya, the Tanzanian Olympic team's physician said Ramadhani was expected to arrive today in Brazil ahead of the Sunday showdown.

According to the race analysts, the Tanzanian is not among the small number of women who look poised to perform well on the streets of Rio. 

Most of those basing on the past records point Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba as the possible winner ahead of of a Kenyan Helah Kiprop and Bahrain's Eunice Kirwa.

All three medallists from Beijing will be reunited in Rio. Kiprop heads the Kenyan trio which also includes London Marathon winner Jemima Sumgong and Paris Marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho. 

Meanwhile, Swimmer Hilal Hemed renews Tanzania's hunt for Rio Olympic medal today when he competes in 50m freestyle race at Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He is the second Tanzanian to try a medal chase after a Judoka, Andrew Mlugu bowed out of the race on Tuesday. Hilal will be fighting for the top-three finish against seven other swimmers, majority of them from African countries.

Hilal will compete in heat 4 and will be placed in the fourth lane at Aquatics Stadium. 

The official line up released yesterday shows that Burundian Bill Scott Irakoze will swim on lane 1 alongside Eloi Imaniraguha of Rwanda who will swim on lane 2 while lane 3 will be occupied by a Nigerian swimmer, Samson Opuarkpo.

After Hilal, there will be Farhan Farhan from Bahrain on lane 5 while Ugandan Joshua Tibatemwa will be on lane 6.

The non African swimmers in the heat are Giordan Harris from Marshall Islands on lane 7 and Tajikistani's Olim Kurbanov. 

Tanzania's race for a medal in judo was dealt a blow yesterday when Andrew Thomas Mlugu bowed out to Australian Jake Bensted in 73kg bout in Rio de Janeiro. Mlugu fought bravery against experienced Australian, but lack of exposure let him down.

Tomorrow another swimmer, Magdalena Moshi, will open her medal chase also in 50m freestyle at the same venue. Sarah Ramadhan, the only lady marathoner is scheduled to run on August 15, according to the event's time table.

With seven athletes, Tanzania was the first nation to confirm Olympic team for Rio 2016. Four marathon runners, two swimmers and one judoka are representing the nation in Brazil.

 Other athletes who will represent Tanzania are: Fabiano Joseph, Saidi Juma Makula and Alphonce Felix Simbu (all men's marathon).

Tanzania won its only medals in 1980 in Moscow Olympic Games. Both Filbert Bayi finished second behind Paul Malinowski of Finland in 3,000m steeplechase and Suleiman Nyambui who finished behind Ethiopian Mirutz Yifter in 5,000m, clinched silver medals.

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