Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Athletes in high spirits ahead of Commonwealth games

Coaches in charge of Botswana’s Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games athletics and boxing teams have expressed optimism that their charges will acquit themselves very well at the games.

Speaking in interviews, both Mogomotsi Otsetswe of athletics and Lechedzani Luza said they are confident their charges will make the country proud.

Commenting on his team, Otsetswe said he is happy with his team’s preparations, which he says were better than those from previous years.

“The preparations for this year were better than from previous ones because the government and the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) availed funds for our training camps,” Otsetswe explained.

“The Commonwealth Games comes a little early in the year leaving us with but no time to properly follow all preparation stages. Under normal circumstances, we would have had preparations before moving on to special preparations and then competitions. However, the time was too short for such,” he explained.

Despite this, Otsetswe said since the funds were released well in time, they have had time for training camps, rests as well as supply of proper diets, thus allowing them to prepare as much as they can.

He said such preparations have given them confidence ahead of what he expects to be a very tough competition for his charges.

“If you look at these Commonwealth Games, more especially looking at track and field athletics, you will realise that almost all the track and field athletics powerhouses, save for the United States of America will be competing,” he said.

However, looking at how we have prepared for these games as well as the calibre of competition we will be facing, I believe we can bring home at least three medals,” he added.

Concerning the fitness of the talented duo of Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda, who have had niggling injuries, Otsetswe said he believes they are ready.

“Ever since they were cleared by the medical doctors to compete, they have been training very well and I believe they are ready. However, I cannot confirm whether they will both compete in the 400m individual race as we are still in preparations and have not decided yet,” he explained.

On the psychological aspect of the athletes, Otsetswe said he is happy with the efforts of BNOC to avail to the team psychologists to continuously work with the team.

“For the first time since ever, we have had a psychologist working with our athletes on full time basis during our preparations. She (psychologist) has done a great job since coming in and has fully prepared them mentally for the games,” he said.

For his part, Luza, whose boxing team has been in administration turmoil ahead of the games said he is hopeful his will not be affected by off the field problems that afflicted Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA).

Despite having a youthful team, Luza said his young charges have gained experience over the past few years as they have been excelling in continental competitions.

“They are very ready. We have been doing a lot of endurance, lots of power training as well as working on their technical aspect of the game,” he explained.

“Mentally, I believe they are also ready as they have been availed a psychologist to work with them during preparatory stages. Even I as their coach talks to them daily to try to inspire and encourage them,” said Luza.

Luza said given the talent at his disposal, it should not come as a surprise should the youthful boxing team, which is comprised of one man and three ladies, win two medals at the games.

Boxing will start their Commonwealth Games with preliminary matches on April 5 while athletics will start their schedule on April 8.

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