In camp Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) national team athletes missed the BAA 5th interzonal track and field competition held at the national stadium over the weekend.
It was revealed that despite the competition falling under the 2021 Tokyo Olympics qualifying belt, the no show by athletes in the national camp was an intentional move advised by the team gaffers.
The likes of Baboloki Thebe, Isaac Makwala and Leungo Matlhaku are some of the athletes that did not take part in the competition while Karabo Sibanda made a comeback after suffering a career threatening injury in 2018. It has been revealed to The Telegraph that national coaches advised that the athletes needed to be conditioned prior to competing after a long lay off during the festive season.
In an interview with The Telegraph, BAA Vice President technical Oaboloka Theetso said: “Athletes in the national camp have a program to follow. They compete at their coach’s discretion. They have just arrived for the national camp and coaches advised that their conditioning is not yet at a competing stage hence their absence. At this stage, we cannot afford to lose any of our athletes in camp due to injury as it is believed their muscles are not ready.”
He said the next competition is expected in the next two weeks. “On the 6th of February we will be having another track and field series and expect athletes in camp to have conditioned and ready to compete. We are still working on their physical and psychological aspects of the game as it is also critical for athletes,” said Theetso.
Meanwhile, Theetso revealed that they were impressed by local athletes’ competitiveness on their season opener. “Despite the covid 19 surge and festive break, it was really impressive looking at some of the athletes’ sharpness over the weekend and we believe that our target of sending 18 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics is realistic,” said Theetso.