Rarely, if ever, do Batswana get an opportunity to see their local track and field stars up close taking on the World’s best. That is about to change!
For those locals who will grace the Gaborone International Meet (GIM) on the 30th April 2022, they will get a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Botswana’s galaxy of track and field star athletes under one roof.
In what promises to be a meet not to forget, Batswana will see the likes of 800m track star Nijel Amos take on his current biggest rival Rotich Fergusson and his countryman Cornelious Tuwei on the blue tracks of the national stadium.
They will get to see the ever green and charismatic Isaac Makwala make his last bow at the GIM and hand the baton to the likes of GIM debutants Letsile Tebogo and the country’s latest late comer talent in Stephen Abosi.
Until his recent exploits at the world indoor championships in Serbia where he broke Botswana’s 60m national record, Abosi, a lawyer based in Canada, was relatively unknown.
Most importantly, those going to the GIM at the end of the month will get to see the best of African and world track and field stars in Botswana.
According to GIM Public Relations Officer (PRO) Calistus Kolantsho, while fifty athletes from across the world have shown interest in gracing the event, they still expect more to register as the clock winds down towards the event.
Among these athletes are Namibia’s 100m and 200m sprint queens Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, South Africa’s 100m sprinters Henricho Bruintjies, Clarence Munyai and Gift Leotlela as well as Kenya’s 800m runners Rotich and Cornelious Tuwei, just to mention but a few.
“We expect to see some interesting races on the day. We anticipate to see how Letsile and Abosi, as an example, will fare against the likes of Bruintjies, Munyai and Leotlela, all of whom have run under 10 seconds,” Kolantso says.
On a sentimental level, the GIM PRO says the event will afford Batswana an opportunity to watch Makwala live taking on the best of the continent and the world in what may be the last and only chance as this will be his last appearance at the GIM.
Given the quality of the talent that will be on display at the event, the GIM PRO says they are hopeful that some national records may be broken while as many athletes qualify for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Even better, Kolantsho says the GIM will afford local athletes to see how they compare to their counterparts from across the world and get the exposure they need the most.
“Botswana has a lot of talent. However, the majority of our athletes do not have the resources to go outside the country to compete with the best. By bringing the world stars here, the GIM gives these athletes a platform to gain exposure and qualify for world events,” he explains.
With the GIM now a continental bronze level meet, Kolantsho says if it is successful, there is a great potential to see it grow into a silver or gold level meet. Should this come to pass, it will attract even more of the world’s elite runners.
Meanwhile, the GIM PRO has appealed to the corporate world to come on board as partners or sponsors of the GIM. He says for the event to grow and attract the top talent in the world, it needs partners. “This is the only event that can give our local athletes the exposure they need. Taking our athletes outside to compete is a very expensive exercise and not many athletes will get that exposure. If we grow the GIM to attract the best of the world athletics talent to Botswana, it will give our local athletes an opportunity to compete with them here in Botswana,” he pleaded.