Monday, January 17, 2022

Cross country team to be named ahead of regional championships

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is expected to announce a team to represent the country at the upcoming regional cross country in the next couple of weeks. This follows the successful completion of the BAA’s cross country competition for this calendar year during the past weekend.

The cross country regional championships will be hosted by Lesotho on March 2. Speaking in an interview, BAA’s Public Relations Officer, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, said the association has already sent a preliminary team sheet to the organizers of the Lesotho regional cross country championships.

He, however, said despite the provisional team names sent, the BAA is yet to finalise the team.

“This was just to ensure that we register all athletes we are considering to take to the games. At the moment, we are not certain on the number of athletes we will take to the championships due to our current financial situation,” the BAA PRO explained. According to Ramatshaba, should finances allow, the association would like to send a strong 24 member team to the regional championships.

With the championship divided into four categories, namely senior men and senior women as well as junior men and junior women, the BAA PRO said the intended 24 member team will be composed of 6 members for each category.

He said the reason for sending the large contingent is to ensure that the country can compete and be ranked.

“The cross country championships are a team event and as such, a country is ranked according to the performance of its top four athletes during the championships. As such, if you bring lesser number of athletes than the one required for rankings, the country will not get a ranking even if its athletes perform well,” he explained. On the criteria for selecting the team, Ramatshaba said the selectors will take into consideration the performances of athletes during the just ended cross country series and championships.

With the Poland bound cross country world championships coming on 23 March, the BAA PRO said they expect local runners to use the regional championships to qualify. “From Lesotho, we have the World Championships where we expect our athletes to compete. Should our athletes do well in Lesotho, we hope to send another strong team to the World championships so we can get a better ranking globally,” Ramatshaba added.

Meanwhile, the BAA’s track and field calendar of events kicked off yesterday (Saturday) in the Northern region with Masunga as the host. The event is expected to be followed by another one this coming weekend for the Southern Region.

According to Ramatshaba, the BAA expects to have completed this year’s calendar of events ahead of the Southern region Track and Field championships which the country is expected to host.

With all the BAA races sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the BAA PRO said the local track and field series, the Senn Foods National Championships, as well as the regional championships are expected to be used by athletes to try and qualify for the World Championships. With only three local athletes, being Amantle Montsho, Nijel Amos and Isaac Makwala having already qualified for the track and field world championships, it is expected that other local athletes will use the local series and the regional championships to qualify.

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