The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is very likely to send only two athletes to represent the country at the upcoming World Championships. The championships are billed for Daegu, Korea, from the 27th of August to the 4th of September this year.
The number of athletes to represent the country at the Championships will depend on whether one of the country’s elite athletes, German-based high jumper, Kabelo Kgosiemang will be available.
Should he (Kgosiemang) fail, the country’s hopes for representation will rest solely on the shoulders of 400 metres athlete, Amantle Montsho. Speaking in an interview, BAA Technical Director, Bobby Gaseitsiwe, said this comes after the country’s 400 by 400 metres relay failed to qualify for the World Championships.
According to Gaseitsiwe, the team was sent to Belgium recently to try and qualify but could not meet the required qualifying times. The result meant the team, which has been ranked in the top 16 in the world, now has no hope of making the World Championships and will, therefore, not compete.
“I believe we sent them late and they missed at least two races, which could have given them enough chances to qualify for the championships,” Gaseitsiwe added.
Concerning Kgosiemang, the BAA technical Director said they are keeping an eye on him and are hopeful that he will qualify for the world Championships.
“He needs to jump at least 2.28 metres to qualify and at his last qualifying games, he did 2.24 metres. This means he only needs to jump at least 4 more centimetres and he will make it. He is an elite athlete and there is hope that he can make it,” Gaseitsiwe said.
Going into the championships, Gaseitsiwe says they have not set any medal targets, but said they are hopeful that Amantle will make it into the finals and better her last performance at the World Championships.
The athlete came last in the final despite posting very impressive results in both the heats and semi-final races.
Meanwhile, the BAA says preparations for the upcoming All Africa Games (AAG) which are billed for Mozambique in September are ongoing. So far, a team of 12 locally-based athletes are in camp and they will be expected to be joined by overseas based athletes very soon.
Gaseitsiwe said that, so far, only Jamaica-based 400 metres sprinter, Isaac Makwala, has reported for camp while another 400 metres sprinter, Obakeng Ngwigwa, is expected to report this week.
The remaining athletes will be expected to join their compatriots sometimes in August. According to the BAA Technical Director, the team will be expected to take part in a final competition on the 5th of August where a final team to represent the country at the AAG will be finalised. According to Gaseitsiwe, BAA will be aiming to send a very competitive team that can get medals to the Maputo games. Once selected, the team will be expected to remain in camp before leaving for an expected final camp in Swaziland en route to Mozambique.