Botswana’s plan to send a good number of athletes to the Rio 2016 Olympics suffered a set back when all athletes from boxing failed to qualify for the competitions and fail to win a single medal at the qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The athletes are expected to arrive in Botswana on Monday. Boxing is one of the codes that are doing well locally and regionally and it has always had a representative in Olympics but this year there won’t be anyone representing. All the athletes were knocked out of the qualifiers at the preliminary stages, something unusual with the local boxers. In the past London Olympics Oteng Oteng was the only one that was representing Botswana in boxing at the competition. Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) Public Relations Officer Kenny Maragana said at the moment there is not much that they can say about the performance, but rather they will wait for the team to come back and submit a report.
Before the team left, their aim was to have about four athletes qualifying, and with the training that they have been under this year they thought that they will be able to do so. Maragana said that was the last shot that they had with the athletes to see if they can see themselves in the coming Olympics. BOBA President Dr Thato Patlakwe has also said before they left that they are looking at about four athletes qualifying for the Olympics and he seemed certain that the local athletes will manage to qualify. Even though waiting for the report that will be given on Monday about the team, Maragana said countries like Tunisia and Egypt are the ones that proven to be too difficult for Botswana and that did not come as a surprise considering the fact that those countries usually train with European countries. “Those countries are close to Europe and their camps are usually in countries like France and that accesses them to the best world facilities while our athletes train regionally only most of the time and also do not engage in many international camps,” he said.
To date only athletics have qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. Judo and swimming athletes have up to 11 July and 3rd July respectively to qualify for the Rio Olympics and also some from athletics to make up the Botswana men 4X4 relay team. If Judo and swimming fail to qualify, Botswana will only be watching runners in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Only five codes were chosen to take part in the qualifiers which are the national women volleyball team, boxing, judo, athletics and swimming and two codes are out at the moment. The final team that will be going to Rio from Botswana will be announced on the 21st of July 2016.