A long overdue update on one of our first success stories: Imamu Sahala.
Imamu, who was orphaned at a young age, was taken in by the then newly set up Tanzania Optimist Dingy Association, aged 11 and first started sailing aged 12.
Hanging around the Msasani Fishing Village, Imamu (his name means “spiritual leader”) used to sleep on the floor in a little old office and could only go in there in the evening when they closed. He had no home. Once he got into sailing, he would spend most of his time on the water learning.
He progressed quickly through commitment and passion for his sport, and was able to start competing in 2012 at the African Optimist Championship held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He has gone on to win and gain places at National and International level (see photos). He has become one of the best sailors in his category in Tanzania.
This was in part enabled through funding from the Orlando Rogers Foundation – we contributed to his upkeep and some of his education so that he could learn English – which is very important for career prospects in Tanzania and sailing rules.
He got a training grant by World Sailing to go to the Emerging Nations Program in Mozambique in 2015 and was chosen to participate in the ISAF Youth Worlds in Portugal.
Imamu, now aged 18 has completed his initial Level 1 Technical coaching course and qualification in June 2016 and has part time work as an assistant sailing coach in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. This is as a result of years of his hard work, passion and persistence, and a little bit of financial help. His success in sailing events has no doubt contributed to his career development as a coach. He is still enjoying sailing, and is able to earn a living and develop his career prospects in the sport he loves.
As well as his coaching career, Imamu has reached such a good standard that he may have a chance at the Olympics in 2020 – this is dependent mostly on funding, and in this respect competitors from countries like Tanzania are at a significant disadvantage compared with those from richer countries.
As plans develop we may look to support him further if necessary.