Tuesday, July 5, 2022

BSSA preparations for Africa Junior Championships underway

Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) Secretary General, Bongi Ruele, says the national swimming team selection is to be finalised in a week.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, Ruele said the team that will be selected will represent Botswana at the African Junior Championship. The championships will be hosted by Botswana in the next twelve months.

“The national team will thoroughly prepare after the final selections is made,” said Ruele. “We are also working on improving and renovating the UB pool and we have found international pool constructor Mythar pool experts from Italy.”

As the African Junior Championship games will be in winter (start of May) next year, concerns were that the UB pool, which will host aquatic competitions, does not have heating facilities. Plans are said to be underway by BSSA to install heating facilities at the pool.

For pool heating facilities, Myrtha Pools, a partner of aquatics world governing body FINA, is still in consultations with BSSA for the installation and construction. Ruele also said the coach for the national team will also be named very soon. She said all good performers are to be placed in the preliminary team and will then be trimmed to sixteen for the finals.

She, however, did not mention the exact dates but said members of the public will be informed.
If Botswana’s national teams’ performance at the last month’s CANA Zone 3 & 4 Regional annual swimming gala Championships hosted by Zambia is anything to go by, Team Botswana will be a force to reckon with at next year’s Junior Championships hosted on their home soil.

Botswana national team managed to come home with 45 medals. Out of ten nations that were competing, Kenya won that competition with 2265 points followed by Zimbabwe in second place with 2048.5 points and third place was South Africa with 2010 points.

Team Botswana got fourth place with 1893 points coming home with 16 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 19 bronze medals. Also big on the diary of BSSA is that Olympian and World Champion Swimmer, Penny Heyns, from South Africa who is in Botswana for 5 days.

A statement from Darrell Morton, trip coordinator and Director of Darrell Morton’s School of Swimming, said that Heyns had come to offer a unique coaching opportunity to competitive swimmers.

“Heyns presentation sheds light on what it takes to make it to the top of one of the world’s toughest sporting disciplines. How to stay there and how those same principles apply to business and personal life,” says the statement.

Heyns is also scheduled to make a public appearance on Botswana Television’s Morning Show and be hosted by an unconfirmed local radio station during the same day (Monday). Her last day (Tuesday) will see her ushering motivational message to a group of orphaned and vulnerable teenagers at Stepping Stones International in Mochudi. She is expected to encourage them to overcome obstacles and work towards achieving their dreams according to the statement by Morton.

Heyns won 2 Gold Medals in 1996 at the Olympics and a Bronze Medal in 2000 Olympics. She has broken 14 Individual world records during her career as a swimmer. She is South Africa’s Double Olympic Individual Gold Medallist and she holds numerous world records. In 2006, Heyns became an inaugural inductee into South African Sport Hall of Fame.

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