Of the seven sporting codes designated by the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) to go to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, only two have qualified to compete while the remaining five’s participation is yet to be determined.
Boxing and Lawn Bowling have already booked their Delhi ticket while the participation of Athletics, Badminton, Tennis, Table Tennis and Squash is dependent upon them qualifying.
In an interview with Standard Sport, the president of the Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA), Michael Moroka, said his BOBA will send six boxers to the Delhi games.
The boxing chief says preparations for the games are progressing well, adding that they had organized for the boxers to play tournaments and friendly games with neighbouring countries.
He said the association had also organized a training camp with the Scottish boxing national team in Scotland, after which the boxers will come home before heading back abroad for their last camp leading to New Delhi.
Moroka informed Standard Sport that all the boxers heading to the Delhi Commonwealth Games qualified way back in February this year.
He said this is largely due to the association’s adherence to its strategic plan, which stipulated that all boxers heading to Delhi must have qualified by February or March.
The criterion for selection was that boxers should win either silver or gold medals to be included in the team.
Moroka also says to ensure good performance by the athletes, they will be working hand in hand with the Botswana National Olympic Committee to provide the boxers with psychologists and nutritionists to help them. Meanwhile, the relatively unknown Botswana Bowling Association (BBA) says it will be heading to Delhi not to participate but to win medals.
BBA spokesperson, Lebogang Mascarenhas, says it will be sending a team, twelve strong, to compete at the commonwealth games.
Mascarenhas, whose code is not new to international games, says for the first time, their team will include both the ladies and men’s bowling teams. After bowling men’s failure to qualify for the previous games, the BBA spokesperson says they worked hard and all the teams qualified during the Africa games hosted by Swaziland in August last year.
While other sporting codes cry of lack of international exposure, Mascarenhas says her sport provides enough international exposure to its players. She adds that all promising players are sent into Africa to test them before they are drafted into the Bowling national team.
For its part, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) says it intends to send a strong team to this year’s Commonwealth games in Delhi.
BAA president, Moses Bantsi, told Standard Sports they want to send at least 15 athletes to the games.
He says all Commonwealth bound athletes will be part of the 22 athletes that will go for a camp in Nairobi before heading for Africa games. He says for the first time, they have assembled a strong team of the women 4 by 4 relay, which he believes will do well.
Another first for Botswana’s athletics will be the inclusion of a combined events athlete in Bonolo Maretele.
Already, the BAA has sent three athletes to Germany for training. The three are Zacharia Kamberuka, Kgalalelo Sefu and Onalenna Baloi.
Beyond the coming games, Bantsi says they will also include some of the athletes who are not part of the Delhi bound contingent to a training camp in Kenya as a way of development.