The organisers of the Gaborone Diacore Marathon (DGM) are happy with progress shown by athletes taking part in the DGM athlete programme. The athletes continue to do well in national and international championships. Just last week DGM athletes dominated the National Cross Country Championships in both the senior men and women sections. Diacore Gaborone Marathon running programme participants, Sylvester Koko and Rapula Diphoko clinched first and second positions respectively in the National Cross Country Championships finals held in Gaborone a fortnight ago. In the senior women section Mema Tiango and Marea Maano who are also on the programme came first and second respectively. DGM spokesperson Thabo Makgato celebrated the progress made by the athletes. Makgato said since going into camp in October 2016 the athletes have shown great improvement in their races. He said the athletes have been participating in local and regional competitions in South Africa. “In the short time the team has been running they have produced results that have far exceeded all expectations with gold medals from as near as Francistown to as far as Soweto,” he said. The DGM running programme, according to the marathon organisers, is meant to give back to the community by training elite runners. The programme, which started in October 2016, is specifically designed to train 10 of Botswana’s most elite long distance runners for the future. They intend to have the athletes qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Makgato explained that the athletes have so far set very high standards for long distance running in Botswana as well as gearing themselves up to become world class athletes in a few years to come.
Following their impressive performance in the National Cross Country Championship finals, the focus will now be the African Cross Country Championships in Uganda on the 26th march 2017. The athletes continue to be in camp at the Diacore Gaborone Marathon Athlete Village and they receive high level professional training daily at the national stadium. DGM organisers are optimistic that the athletes will finally achieve the ultimate objective of reaching the 2020 Olympic Games. It is expected that the programme will go a long way in addressing the problem the country has been having for years in long distance races. For many years Botswana has not been able to produce quality long distance runners capable of challenging for international honours with this blamed on lack of resources. When the Diacore running programme was started the then Botswana Athletics Association vice president Glody Dube said it will help develop high quality athlete for Botswana. He admitted that for a long time Botswana has not been doing well in this field and was hopeful that the programme will be of tremendous help to both the athletes and country. The Diacore running programme is supported technically by BAA and Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). Sponsors for the programme include Stanbic Bank, Mascom, Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), Sefalana, Botho University, Grand Palm Hotel and Casino Resort and broadcast sponsor Yarona Fm.