Local athletes and coaches of some clubs have revealed that they are not satisfied at how things are done at their mother body, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). They complain that few races are being hosted by BAA though it is an Olympics year. BAA usually organises races in February and April as a way of preparing athletes to qualify for two local major competitions being the Sports View International Meet and BAA National Championship where athletes will get to prove themselves to secure a place in the national team or qualify for international competitions.
One of the coaches at Jwaneng Athletics Club (JAC) Dickson Theetso does not know whether BAA is not organising races as a strategy to fail some of the athletes to qualify for the Olympics and other international races. “Truth be said, there are not enough races locally. So far there has been one race that was at Molepolole. March is already elapsing and we are busy training athletes for nothing. The qualification closing date for the Olympics is July 11 and if BAA is not going to organise many local races, then we are bound to send a small team,” Theetso said.
Theetso accused BAA of divide and rule system as there is a team that has been tipped to be the one that can qualify for Olympics and has been given a fair chance to train and compete in South Africa while other athletes are excluded. “Ok fine, they have sent a team to South Africa but I had a chance to speak with some of the athletes in that team and they are already complaining of negligence. They feel the training is just too shallow for them; it is like the coach is confused and does not want them to qualify. Races are not organised,” said Theetso.
One local athletes said BAA is failing them largely as they should have ran at least seven races at moment but they have only had one race. “The body has to gain momentum of running before you get serious with qualifying for major competitions. This is the time when we could be beating qualifying standards, but we are busy training for nothing. The association or whoever is responsible for organising races is sabotaging us deliberately. They are destroying us,” said the athlete who opted to be anonymous.
BAA Vice President Glody Dube said the association was in financial doldrums. “We have financial problems. For us to organise races we need money to book stadiums and take care of the proceedings of the day. Secondly it is difficult for us to find stadiums in Gaborone and surrounding areas as football is giving us tough competition for stadiums. This leaves us with options for stadiums as far as Masunga which we cannot also go to as we do not have money. We really do not have money,” Dube said. The former 800m Olympian said the team that is currently at South Africa was selected based on performance.