Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Tanzanian boxers would now have to undergo compulsory HIV/AIDS tests before being allowed to participate in the game, the Tanzania Professional Boxing Commission (TPBC) has ruled.
"From now on boxers would not be allowed to take part in the game inside or outside the country unless they have taken an HIV/AIDS test before and have got a negative result," TPBC said in a statement issued in Dar es Salaam.
According to the statement, the new policy is in line with the commission's commitment to join national efforts in combating the fast spreading HIV/AIDS pandemic in the East African country.
"This measure will save our boxers from contracting the deadly disease and give the commission an opportunity to join the national anti-HIV/AIDS campaign," said the statement.
Some African countries like South Africa have set up such procedures in an effort to wage a protracted war against HIV/AIDS in the sporting field.
The commission's anti-HIV/AIDS drive has won praise among Tanzania's sportsmen and women.
"This decision will help our boxers to fight confidently knowing that they are safe from the dreaded disease," Tanzania's World Boxing Union light middleweight champion Rashid Matumla said.
"TPBC has come up with an intelligent decision aimed to protect the health of its boxers.
I think this policy should be extended to all fields of sport," said Onesimo Ngowi, the TPBC president.
Leaders and coaches of various Tanzanian football clubs have also applauded TPBC's anti-HIV/AIDS stance, saying the policy should also govern footballers in a deliberate effort to protect them.
"Registration of players in football clubs in the country should take into account the health factor.
Players must undergo medical check-ups as a mandatory policy," added veteran soccer coach Paul West Gwivaha.