The upcoming 2019 edition of the All Africa Games is set to be a make or break for the Botswana’s 4X400m relay teams.
Both the men and women’s national teams are yet to qualify for the IAAF World athletics championships slated for Doha from the 27th September- October 6th 2019.
Over 17 months since the start of the qualifying period that ends September 6th next month, the teams are yet to show a glimpse of the formidable force they are known to be ahead of the All Africa Games billed for Rabat, Morocco from 19th – 31st August.
Following the World relays predicament that witnessed the local teams failing to make the trip to Yokohama in May, the teams now find themselves fighting hard to make the final cut of the championships as only six places are left for a place in the finals.
With just a few weeks remaining ahead of the Doha 2019 championships, current rankings remain the only lifeline keeping locals relay in contention to make the finals.
Botswana’s men’s 4X400m team is currently ranked 14th while the women’s team is ranked 12th in the World. This follows times clocked at the Gold Coast Commonwealth games two years ago. With the men’s team clocking 3:01.78, the women’s team clocked 3:26.86 at the same championships.
Provided none on any national teams clock better times before September 6th 2019, the team will automatically qualify due to World rankings.
In preparations for the All Africa Games, the national teams were crowned champions of the Manchester International meet this week. Competing in the final against England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain juniors, the men’s national team crossed the line at 3:04.55 winning the competition.
Despite crossing the line with a slower time, the women’s team were also crowned champions of the Manchester international meet competing against the likes of England, Wales and Great Britain juniors when the clocked 3:35.18 with almost four seconds separating them from runners up England.
Trained by gaffer Kebonyemodisa Mosimanyane, the men’s national team heading for the All Africa games include Boitumelo Masilo, Leaname Maotoanong, Zibane Ngozi,Ditiro Nzamani and Leungo Scotch. The women’s team is led by former World champion Amantle Montsho with Oarabile Babolayi, Galefele Moroko, Tlhomphang Basele and Oratile Rose Nowe.
The team has been in various training camps since June with athletes also competing in Bahamas in late July. At the Bahamas competition, the men’s 400m athletes were exposed to big challenges with the likes of 400m heavyweight Steven Gardiner competing at the championships.