The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho has announced that they will evaluate the country’s previous set targets for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and devise way forward.
BNOC had previously targeted to qualify not less than 16 athletes for the games and also aimed at winning at least two medals from Tokyo. The Olympics that were due to begin in July 24th and end on August 9th this year have since been called off over fears of the ongoing deadly worldwide covid-19 pandemic. The games have now been postponed to July 23rd to August 8th next year. Various Olympic qualifiers competition events have also been rescheduled.
The pandemic came at a time when Botswana had already qualified Nijel Amos, Galefele Moroko, Christine Botlogetswe, Amantle Montsho from athletics as well as youthful Keamogetse Kenosi of boxing. The country is still vying to qualify more athletes from sporting codes comprising of swimming, weightlifting, judo, boxing and athletics.
In an interview with The Patriot Sport Serufho could for now not state as to whether the target for their medal prospects and a number of athletes to qualify for the Olympics is likely to increase. This he says is because of the uncertainties surrounding the Olympic games. “Until there is certainty about the qualification system for the remaining places, that is when we can confidently determine our targets,” Serufho said noting that it is currently difficult to set themselves target before knowing what is going to happen next regarding the games. “its a tricky situation,” he stressed.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently set new dates for the 2021 Olympics qualification period. Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the period will resume on December 1st 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline, June 29th next year. Different Sporting Associations believes that adjustments givens them an opportunity to qualify more athletes. IOC has also assured that athletes who have already qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain qualified for 2021.
That as it may, another worry that may be rising is that some countries may no longer want to host Olympics qualifies competitions as it was scheduled in fear of exposing their citizens to the deadly corona-virus. IOC is said to have also assured that no countries will be disadvantaged by the covid-19 situation.
“Olympic qualification competitions will not be played at a country that will not allow people from other countries, the international federation has guaranteed that no one will be disadvantaged,” Serufho indicated. The CEO has however expressed positive that all will go well as other international countries are also slowly resuming training and competition for their different sporting activities.
Botswana Athletics Head Coach, Justice Dipeba also recently lamented the uncertainties surrounding international preparations ahead of the next year Olympics. The Botswana Athletics Association has resumed their trainings after almost two months off track due to the lapsed extreme social distancing.
“We are training but we are not certain about how things will turn out, our focus however is to try and stay in shape so that we are ready for the next year Olympics,” Dipeba said to this publication. The country’s relay team is set to attend the World Athletics Relays which are scheduled to be held in Chorzów, Poland from 1 to 2 May next year in a bid to qualify for the 2021 Olympics. Dipeba indicated that the rankings place them in a good position to secure a spot at the Olympics.