The disappointment of two months ago, when Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) failed to have relay teams participate in the World Relays, is now water under the bridge as the association shifts focus to the Confederation of African Athletics Southern Region Senior Championships.
This time the association has not left anything to chance having assembled a strong youthful team for the Mauritius games set for July 6-7. Botswana performed quite well at the competition in 2017 coming second behind South Africa with 15 medals (4 gold, 5 silver & 6 bronze medals).
The 22-member team will compete in both track and field events to try and improve their world rankings as well as qualifying for the upcoming prestigious events such as the IAAF World Championships and Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The men’s team comprise of Zabrone Machara, Thuto Masasa, Keene Motukisi, Thwanyane Rebeilwe, Ditiro Nzamani, Zibani Ngozi, Leaname Maotoanong, Keene Motukisi, Leungo Scotch and Onneile Phokedi. They will compete in 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m and 4x100m relay events.
The ladies team includes Refilwe Murangi, Belinda Lakose, Rose Senane, Oarabile Babolayi, Oratile Nowe, Tlhomphang Basele, Tsaone Sebele and Motlatsi Rante. Botswana will also be represented in field events by Tshwanelo Aabobe, Aobakwe Nkobela and Thapelo Monaiwa, who will compete in high and long jump respectively. However, the country’s hopes will be mostly on the likes of Maotoanong, Scotch and Sebele who once tasted triumph at the international stage.
With most of the senior athletes unavailable due to their commitments in IAAF Diamond League and World Challenges the expectation is that the young team will use this chance to shine and get their share of the limelight since they stand a chance of qualifying for the upcoming All Africa games.
“Going to this competition is a continuation of where i left last year at the Africa Senior Championships. I have vowed to really focus on athletics this year and get the best out of myself. Throughout this training camp I have been working mostly on speed and through the programme that my coach came up with for 200m, I have managed to clock times around 21 seconds against the 20 seconds target. So I am in a good shape of even qualifying for the World Championship at this competition. The only challenge which might affect us is weather and altitude,” said Scotch, the 200m runner.
BAA spokesperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said, “Preparations are superb so far because the team is in camp and they train twice a day. This is part of our developmental programme and it is good that we send them young such that they can gain more experience gradually. I can assure you that they will not disappoint the nation because last time the team performed well and our wish is that they will surpass the previous performance,” he said.