Saturday, March 25, 2023

Botswana aims for balance in track and field events

Botswana has of late been making international headlines in as far as athletics is concerned. Local athletes, especially in the track and field area, have been able to bring smiles to Batswana, something unfamiliar before.

The likes of Amantle Montsho and Nijel Amos have made history with athletic feats previously unknown to the country.

Montsho is the first local to win gold at both the Commonwealth Games and World Athletic Championships and while Amos is the first and only Motswana to win a medal at the Olympics. Currently some youngsters like Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda are showing the potential of being athletes of repute at major international events.

What however can be taken note of is that Botswana never really does well in as far as field events are concerned in major international competitions.

Sometimes the country does not even sent a single representative. Field events areas include shot put, javelin, high jump, long jump, pole vault and others.

The only local athlete who made a name for himself in major events is Maun born Gable Garenamotse. He won two successive silver medals at both the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Kabelo Kgosiemang has been trying in high jump, but his dominance is only on the African continent but when it comes to the Olympics, World championships and Commonwealth Games, he does not do well.

Spokesperson for the Botswana Athletics Association, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, told Sunday Standard that they are working hard to try to balance success for both field events and track and field ones.

“To have excellent field events athletes you need to also have good coaches. We are working around the clock to produce as many coaches as possible so that we also conquer the world in field events. Just recently we had a coaching course that attracted more than 50 teachers from different schools across the country. Those teachers are now going to teach kids the right basics and techniques,” he said.

Ramatshaba also added that Kgosiemang still has the potential to win big because he is still active. He said there are also some upcoming good athletes in field events that will cause major upsets in few coming years.

“We have to work hard in areas like shot put and javelin and even the long jump. But in high jump there are some good athletes whom I can promise will be forces to reckon with in the near future,” he said.


Read this week's paper