With only one month to go before the start of the IAAF World Relays, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is working around the clock to secure an amount close to P500, 000 in order to prepare for the biennial competition. This was shared by BAA President Thari Mooketsi. The World Relays are scheduled to take place from the 11th until the 12th of May in Yokohama, Japan.
Both of Botswana’s 4x400m relay teams have qualified for the competition following their good exploits during the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year. The men’s team won gold in Brisbane while their female counterparts qualified after finishing third at the finals to qualify for the 2019 edition of World Relays.
In the last edition of the relays in Bahamas, the men’s team made up of Baboloki Thebe, Isaac Makwala, Karabo Sibanda, Leaname Maotoanong, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Nijel Amos won silver medal behind USA while the ladies finished on position six. The ladies comprise of Amantle Montsho, Christine Botlogetswe, Galefele Moroko, Goitseone Seleka and Leungo Matlhaku.
“We need a lot of money; close to half a million just for preparations excluding transport and accommodation during the event .Time is not on our side. But we will compromise and ensure that we also have our input with the little we have. We have just returned from the off-season so as soon as April starts, we will commence our preparations robustly,” said Mooketsi.
As part of their preparations the teams will compete at the 2019 Penn Relays in USA on April 25-27.
“We have received an invitation and we have grabbed the opportunity with both hands because it is a chance for our teams to go and test themselves against other powerhouses. The likes of USA and Bahamas will be there so it is a great opportunity for our teams to gauge themselves there. I’m glad that we will be taking both 4x100m and 4x400m teams there. It is a welcome development for the 4x100m squad as they have never qualified for the relays. It is a chance to start a building them and make them competitive like their counterparts. As soon as the teams return from USA we will put them in camp for thorough training for Japan,” explained Mooketsi.
When quizzed about the whereabouts of the athletes Mooketsi said, “The athletes are all available since we have been monitoring most of them though they are currently training with their individual coaches”.
He confirmed some injuries to some of the star athletes, including Karabo Sibanda who is yet to be fully recovered.
“One other person we are not sure about his health is Makwala. But the ladies are all available,” Mooketsi said.
Despite that Mooketsi said this year’s target is to win gold medal.
“We are just going for gold this time around. We are a powerhouse more especially when it comes to 400m.So we shouldn’t fear anything, even America knows the threat we pose to them that is why they have invited us to their relays,” said Mooketsi.