The recent Confederation of School Sport Associations (COSSASA) games have shown that the country has a bright future in world athletics.
This was proved beyond doubt when a number of local young athletes shined at the games as the country garnered twenty medals.
Among the athletes who caught the eye were the country’s under 13 boys 100m and 200m athlete, Kaashe Kganxlao, as well as the reigning 400 m women’s national champion, Galefele Moroko, just to name two.
If his times in the 100m and 200m are anything to go by, Kganxlao, who is still but a boy, appears to be one of the most exciting prospects this country has.
In Zimbabwe, Kganxlao ran impressive times of 12.11 seconds and 24.68 seconds in both the 100m and 200m, respectively. The times mean he fell short by just less than 2 seconds to qualify for both the International Associations of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Youth Games, all this while barely a teenager.
For Moroko, on the other hand, her win in the 400m women’s race, though short of her personal best, enhanced her reputation as Amantle Montsho’s heiress to the local 400m title.
Apart from the two, others who did well at the COSSASA games include Karabo Mothibi, Joy Mphatho and Vincent Basima, just to name a few. Commenting on the young athletes’ performances, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Development Officer, Gable Garenamotse, expressed optimism that the future of Botswana in athletics is bright.
Speaking in an interview, he said looking at the current performances of the young athletes, there is a very high possibility that they can surpass the country’s past elite athletes.
“If you look at the times all these young athletes are posting, they are better than what their predecessors did when they were in the same age. If we follow proper development pathways to nurture them, I believe that by 2018 or 2020 we will have winners on our hands,” Garenamotse opined.
Quizzed on whether anything will be done to ensure that a deliberate development programme is followed to nurture these young talents, the BAA Development Officer said the association will be looking into how best to develop the young athletes. “Fortunately, we had sent our Vice President Technical Glody Dube to the COSSASA games to keep an eye on these young athletes. We are expecting that he will soon give the BAA a report and some recommendations and it is only then that we will have a clear direction to take with regards to the development of these athletes,” Garenamotse added.
He said currently, the BAA in conjunction with all stakeholders, including the government, Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) are busy trying to ensure that the young athletes are helped as much as possible.
“Most of these athletes are from Junior Secondary Schools and we are now planning that they be sent to School Sports Centers of Excellence where they can be properly developed. We are also in negotiations with concerned stakeholders for teachers who are qualified coaches to be transferred to these schools so that they can help nurture all our budding athletes,” the BAA Development Officer said.