With less than 200 days remaining until the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is stepping up its preparations for the international showpiece.
The BAA’s Public Relations Officer, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, said that preparations for the global sporting showpiece are ongoing. As part of the preparations, the association is expecting to host its first national team camp of the year this coming week. The camp, which is expected to run for at least two or three weeks, will be for locally based athletes. Speaking in an interview, Ramatshaba said the camp will be used to prepare athletes for the Olympics and many other international events that the BAA will compete in during this calendar year.
“We will be taking a number of athletes into these camps as our preliminary team. It is from these athletes that we will then select teams to represent the country,” Ramatshaba said. “These camps will be an on and off thing, as we will be giving athletes a time off to compete in local and international events to fine tune their preparations for the year ahead.”
He added that, as part of this initiative, the BAA has also fast tracked their 2012 calendar of events and will start their track and field events earlier than usual.
“Our first track and field events will commence next week when local athletes and clubs converge in Masunga to compete. This event will then be used to look at athletes and to see who the BAA can send to compete at the Yellow Pages Series in South Africa,” Ramatshaba said.
He further said that the BAA will also be increasing a number of events this year as they seek to help local athletes as much as possibly qualify for the event.
On other issues relating to Olympic preparations, Ramatshaba says the BAA will be looking to send a few more athletes outside the country to give them advanced training. He said they had already sent their financial budget for their preparations to the Botswana national Olympic Committee (BNOC) and once the funds become available, deserving athletes will be sent outside the country.
“As you are aware, we already have Pako Seribe and Sakaria Kamberuka at the Dakar High Performance Training Centre and we are closely monitoring them. Our intention as the BAA is to ease the pressure of Amantle Montsho by not relying too much on her and thus undo all the years of hard work she has put forth,” Ramatshaba added.
Meanwhile, he said, the BAA Executive Committee will meet sometimes next week to discuss their plans for the year ahead. Top on the agenda, according to the PRO, will be the association’s preparations for the London Summer Olympics.