Letsholo Letsholo, Team Botswana’s Chef de Mission (CdM), has expressed optimism that the country will surpass its 2010 medal haul at this year’s commonwealth Games. This is despite the fact that Botswana has sent a smaller team to the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games as compared to the 2010 games in Delhi.
During the past games, the country’s contingent, which stood at around 30 athletes, brought home four medals, among them gold, silver and two bronzes. For this year’s games, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in ten days’ time, Botswana will send a strong team of 18 athletes, who are expected to bring home at least seven medals.
The number, which initially stood at 19, dropped down after one of the athletes, Montle Tlagae of Judo, was dropped due to a recurring injury. Quizzed whether the team has set itself high standards, considering the high medal target versus a lower number of athletes, Letsholo said this time around they only selected athletes with high medal prospects.
“What we did in the past was that we would take both A and B standard qualifiers to the games. This setup increased the number of athletes but yielded fewer medals. This time around, we took a deliberate decision to take only A standard qualifying athletes and those whose qualifying standard were very close to A standard to the games. We are confident that they will bring the targeted medal haul from the games,” explained Letsholo.
Codes that have no medal prospects have also been dropped from the team that will participate at the Commonwealth Games. Letsholo expressed confidence that they will meet the expected tally of seven medals because preparations have gone well despite the financial challenges encountered in the process. He explained that the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and other stakeholders spent a lot of money recently when Botswana hosted the 2nd Africa Youth Games. However, he gave assurances that everything possible was done to ensure that the team was accorded adequate preparations. While Letsholo could not divulge which codes are expected to bring medals, expectations are that athletics and boxing will spearhead the country’s medal charge. Aside from athletics, all eyes will be on Botswana’s sole representative in squash, Allister Walker, who will be making his commonwealth debut in national colors.
After many years representing Great Britain, the 31 year old Gaborone born athlete switched allegiances to Botswana and made his first bow wearing the country colours this past year, winning the country its first squash gold medal in the process. Seeded sixth (6) for this year’s Commonwealth Games, Walker will be among favorites to win a medal at the games. Team Botswana will leave the country for Glasgow tomorrow (Monday).