The Botswana Athletics Association Technical Officer, Bobby Gaseitsiwe, says he was impressed with the performance given out by local athletes at the 2010 Mascom Phikwe marathon.
The local male athletes put up a sterling performance as they dominated this year’s Mascom Phikwe 42.2 km marathon, held over the past weekend.
At least seven local male athletes made it into the top ten positions with Raobina Ramoseka and Ndabili Bashingili coming in the first and second positions, respectively.
Despite the local athletes’ dominance of the marathon, The BAA technical Officer, however, told Telegraph Sports that there is still a lot that needs to be done if locals are to make it into the world elite competitions. His observation follows on the failure of any of the local athletes to post good times to qualify for neither the African Championships nor the Commonwealth Games billed for New Delhi this year.
The results mean Botswana will not be represented in marathon races at both the Kenya and New Delhi games.
Gaseitsiwe says while the BAA will do its utmost to try and give as many athletes as much help and international exposure as possible, the onus mostly lies on athletes and clubs to improve their performance.
Ramoseka posted a time of 2:20:52 to clinch the race but he could not make the 2:18:00 needed to qualify for Delhi 2010.
He was followed by Bashingili in second position while Zimbabwean athlete Elijah Mutandiro finished third. The BAA technical officer also expressed concern at the performance by local ladies at the marathon. While local men dominated the race, the opposite transpired in the ladies marathon as locals were relegated to lower positions in the main race.
Zimbabwean marathon queen, Samukeliso Moyo, won the main event, adding to the Phakalane Marathon she won two months ago.
South Africans Mpho Mabuza and Paulina Njeya came second and third, respectively. The best position taken by a local lady was position five which went to Keatlaretse Mabote, while the race’s defending champion Onkemetse Solotate could only manage position eight this year.
Gaseitsiwe says the association is faced with a challenge to determine the cause of poor showings by local female athletes. Gaseitsiwe told Telegraph Sports that the BAA still has to figure out why female athletes perform well while still in junior categories but do not do as well as expected as seniors. While admitting that part of the problem may be rooted in the past tendency of the association to send more men than women to international competitions, the BAA Technical officer says the BAA has for the past three years tried to correct the problem by sending more women athletes to elite competitions.
He, however, says this has to be done without compromising quality. In the junior categories, Nkange Junior Secondary School had a field day as they walked away overall winners in both male and female categories. The young athletes from Nkange dominated the 15km races which registered a lot of participants. A happy BAA technical Officer, Gaseitsiwe says his association will look at the race and identify and analyze it to look at potential athletes who can be further developed.
He hailed the race as a good platform for junior athletes to showcase their talents.