The boardroom debacle at the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has not filtered down to athletes. The BAA executive has been dissolved following a dramatic AGM where a motion of no confidence failed against a Secretary General who later resigned with his President and vice. The Public Relations Officer later resigned to render the whole executive irrelevant. However athletes have remained focussed on their programmes. Five of them have qualified for the IAAF 2017 World Championships slated for London in August and are busy scaling up their preparations. The latest to make the mark in the track is the highly decorated 400m runner Amantle Montsho who booked her ticket to the World Championships. Montsho qualified for the meet last weekend during the BAA series meet in Francistown clocking 52 seconds. Montsho pulled a shocker in just her second official race after a two-year ban from athletics. This was an improvement from 54.01 seconds she recorded in her first race in Lobatse. The 52 seconds time was not only a shocker to the world but also to Montsho herself. She said she even though she was pushing to qualify for the world championships she did not expect to qualify so soon. Montsho said she had projected to at the national championships to be held in May 2017. Montsho - the former 400m women world champion – seems to be determined to get back to her former ways. She said she will continue working hard so that she improves her time. Being a former world champions she understands well that a better time is the only thing that can win her silverware. The Maun-born runner, who has been on suspension after failing a doping test, is determined to put all that behind her and start afresh.
Baboloki Thebe, who has been side-lined by injury, has also bounced back in style to record the 2017 world lead so far when he clocked 44.89 in Francistown. This was his first race since the Rio 2016 Olympics where he picked an injury. Thebe, who is the 400m African champion, had already qualified for the world champs by virtue of being the African champion. He is happy with his progress. Another athlete who continues to do well in the track is Lidia Jele who has also qualified for the World Championship. Jele’s qualification came on March 3, 2017 at a meet in Pretoria, South Africa. The 400m runner qualified after recording an impressive time of 51.69. Jele, however, is looking to further better her time before going to the world championships. Other athletes who have booked a ticket to the 2017 IAAF World Championships are Karabo Sibanda and Nijel Amos. Amos qualified by virtue of being Africa’s 800m men champion. Athletics coach Justice Dipeba is delighted with the athletes and their current performances. Dipeba said the early qualification shows that the athletes are working hard in training. The coach is optimistic that more athletes will qualify for major events should they participate in a number of good events. Sport analysts have also commended the athletes for their focus and not letting the squabbles at the leadership level get to them. The analysts feel if athletes from other sporting codes could have the same level of focus sport in the country would go far despite infightings at the clubs or associations.