Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is hopeful that the country’s athletics team will at least bring home three medals from the Tokyo Olympic Games billed for summer next year.
Post lockdown the association will next weekend (August 8th) host their first track and field competition in preparation of the upcoming Olympic games. The competition will be held at the National Stadium and is expected to attract various contestant comprising of both amateur and professional athletes.
In an interview with The Patriot Sport, BAA Vice President, Oabona Theetso said the competition are meant to help prepare more of their athletes to qualify for the Olympic games. Theetso says they have decided to start hosting local competitions as early as possible because most of their preparations time has already been lost due to the covid-19 pandemic. Just like any other sporting code athletics activities were also from April suspended for almost three months as a precautionary measure to help avoid the spread of corona-virus in Botswana.
“The competitions will place our athletes in a very good shape in order to help us qualify as many as possible when the athletics qualification period opens,” he indicated. The period is expected to commence in December this year and ends on the 29th of June next year for all events.
Theetso said they are hoping to qualify at least five more athletes to add on to the other four who have already qualified. The five he indicated comprise of Issac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Karabo Sibanda, Leungo Scotch as well as Boitumelo Masilo. Theetso added that they are also hoping for both of their women and men 400m relay teams to also cement their place at the Olympics. Amantle Montsho, Christina Botlogetswe, Galefele Moroko and Nijel Amos have already qualified for the Olympics Games.
“Its an issue of how much do we do to ensure that the remaining athletes also qualifies and that the qualified team can bring home something from the Olympics,” Theetso said, indicating that they are looking at at least three medals. The association is specifically pinning their hopes on the country’s 800 meters runner, Nijel Amos, former World Champion, Amantle Montsho and the male relay team to bring home medals.
“Nijel Amos has brought us an Olympic medal before so we expect him to bring another one again this time around. We are also expecting for Amantle Montsho to also have a podium finish at the games since she is also in good shape at the moment. We also expect our male relay team to also challenge for the honours at the Olympics,” indicated Theetso as he shared BAA’s targets.
Meanwhile the association has indicated that the upcoming track and field meet will be done into two sessions (a morning and afternoon session) for the purposes of compliance to the Covid-19 pandemic regulations. BAA Vice President explained that the idea will help avoid congestion at the stadium and also allow for the place to be disinfected before another session could resume. Activities for the morning session will comprise of 400m men and women, 800m men races whereas those for the afternoon session will be high jump for men,100 and 200m race for both men and women. Athletics Clubs are yet to register their athletes who will participate at the competitions.