Organisers of the annual Gaborone International Meet (GIM) have expressed optimism that the event will aid local athletes to either qualify or prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The event, which is currently Botswana’s flagship international athletics competition is slated for the 2nd May later this year.
Organisers say “GIM 2020 remains a fully recognized event by both World athletics and Confederation of Athletics in Africa (CAA) through the BAA, meaning athletes can use it to qualify.”
The GIM Local Organizing Committee (LOC) General Manager Kitso Kemoeng said: “The competition provides a platform for both local and international athletes to either qualify or prepare for major international competitions such as the Olympics, world and continental championships.”
“It is sanctioned and to some extent supported by the BAA, who provides IAAF certified implements and technical officials. It being sanctioned by the BAA, the competition has the blessing of both the International Athletics Associations Federation (IAAF) and the Confederation of Athletics Associations (CAA); both mother bodies of the sport of athletics in the world and in Africa,” Kemoeng said at the recent launch of the GIM 2020 event.
Moreover, GIM LOC Head of publicity Calistus Kolantsho said they have not had athletes qualifying for Olympics in the past in their events. He said “We have not had an athlete qualifying for Olympics from our meet because the last qualifiers were in 2015 when we were not yet competing for the Olympics.”
“Normally our international athletes set new records for certain countries, last year there were two runners from Nigeria setting their personal records at the meet. This alone shows how important and beneficial our meet is to athletes, and the effort they put shows how they appreciate it,” added Kolantsho.
Kolantsho further added that this year they are expecting a lot of international athletes to maintain the competition standards hence luring other international counterparts to the meet.
“This has to do with setting new country records as well as the urge to take their chances with qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, whilst for others it will be to gauge their performance or prepare fully for them,” he said.
“Our local athletes are struggling to qualify for the Olympics; this means that if they use the activation activity at Francistown on the 4th of April as well as the main event of the meet on the 2nd of May, they may score their luck. This may be just what they need to qualify,” Kolantsho opined.
He further added that it would be nicer if one of our local lads qualified during the meet. “This would increase our mileage as a meet, and also show how organized and prepared we are, as well as win that particular athlete a ticket to the big field. We are going to have all our athletes taking part in the meet.”
“We are glad that our meet is giving athletes such an oppo0rtunity which cannot be missed, and we hope they give it their all and work beyond their capabilities to set their dreams on the road,” he concluded.