Following an incident in which local relay teams failed to compete at the IAAF World Relays in May after Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) blunder the team is being given a second chance at qualification.
The team – men and women – are currently in Bahamas to compete in a championship set for July 28-29, 2019.
The ladies team comprise of Oratile Nowe, Loungo Matlhaku, Galefele Moroko, Oarabile Babolayi and Amantle Montsho. Baboloki Thebe, Boitumelo Masilo, Leungo Scotch, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Zibani Ngozi make up the men’s team.
However the teams are without Nijel Amos and Christine Botlogetswe who are on the sidelines due to minor hamstring injuries. Due to the absence of the duo chances of competing in mixed relays are very slim as reported by the technical team.
By failing to make it to the World Relays, Botswana teams missed a great opportunity of qualifying as one of the top 10 teams. According to the qualification standards for the IAAF World Athletics championship only 16 relay teams will qualify for the completion.
This means 10 nations have already qualified from the World relays, leaving only six slots up for grabs. Nonetheless since the closing of qualification for World Champs is September 4, the local teams still have a chance to qualify but as long as they attend more events around the globe to accumulate points and improve their rankings. This is expected to hit the BAA hard financially.
According to Coach Justice Dipeba, the team is quite ready and stands a good chance to qualify more so that it is the same team which competed at the Commonwealth games last year.
“The athletes have been preparing well for any event that they can use to qualify since we are looking for an opportunity to secure a spot in the top 16 teams. The athletes we selected have been competing and clocking good times of late. But we are disadvantaged because we missed the World Relays but we will fight with everything we can to accumulate more points and get into the top 16,”he said.
As of now only five local athletes have secured some spots to the World Championships being Amos, Botlogetswe, Thebe, Moroko and lately Ditiro Nzamani who qualified in Cameroon last week.
When quizzed if local athletes can still qualify in good numbers Dipeba said, “We still have a chance to have more of our athletes because we still have All Africa Games and other competitions where our athletes can compete and meet the qualification standards. And I don’t think we are slow in qualifying because we have been unlucky as a couple of our top athletes have been injured and not been able to compete well and meet the standards. The other thing is that the World Championships are very far in the year and sometimes qualifying early in the season is not ideal as you might end up reaching your peak early and failing to maintain it for a long time,” Dipeba explained.