Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Botswana names a strong provisional team for the World Relays

Botswana relays team will be hoping for the rub of the green and avoid the treacherous route to the Paris 2024 Olympics when they take on the world’s best at the World Athletics Relays in less than 13 days.

The relays will be held in the Bahamas on the 4th and 5th of May 2024. The top 14 teams from each category at the relays will automatically qualify for the Olympics. Teams finishing outside the top 14 bracket will then have to hope that no other team registers a better time than they did leading to the closing of relay qualifications.

Should Botswana relay teams fail to finish in the top 14 brackets, it would mean they will have to consistently fight off other teams to ensure they have better times to qualify. This would put athletes’ individual qualifications in jeopardy as they would have to be called to compete in the relay teams instead of focusing on individual pursuits.

Botswana is hoping to send three teams of 4X400m relays to the event. The three include men, women and mixed relay teams. This past week, the country named a strong 20 athletes’ provisional team for the relays. The provisional team is composed of 10 male and 10 female athletes. 

The men’s provisional team is composed of Isaac Makwala, Letsile Tebogo, Collen Kebinatshipi, Bayapo Ndori, Zibane Ngozi, Anthony Pesela, Leungo Scotch, Tumo van Wyk, Boitumelo Masilo and Omphile Seribe.

The women’s provisional team on the other hand is composed of Galefele Moroko, Lydia Jele, Christine Botlogetswe, Obakeng Kamberuka, Tlhomphang Basele, Refilwe Murangi, Motlatsi Rante, Kennekae Batisani, Nancy Budzani and Golekanye Chikani.

According to Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president technical Oabona Theetso, the team will be finalized this week at the end of the BAA Track and Field Series competition. The two-day series ends today (Sunday) at the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown.

According to the BAA vice president technical, the reason why they are yet to finalise the team is to give other athletes an opportunity to claim a spot in the team if they can. He says should there be athletes who perform better than those in the provisional team, they will be considered.  

Of the selected athletes, the most notable is that of the ever-green Makwala. While he may be on the decline in terms of speed, it is hoped he can provide much needed experience and guidance to the team.

Theetso says if an individual makes a good leader and has experience from past races at this level, they are highly likely to be selected. He made an example of Baboloki Thebe who was once selected because of the impact he made at the world competitions, and now Makwala who ‘educated his team mates of what is expected of them step by step.’ 

“This however does not mean that if you perform poorly, you will make the team just because you possess leadership qualities and experience. You have to be outstanding as well in terms of your speed as compared to others,” Theetso says.

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