The Botswana Tertiary Schools’ Sports Association (BOTESSA) will on Wednesday send a team of nine athletes to represent the country at the World University Games to be held in Senzhen, China.
The biannual competition, which is popularly known as Universiade (derived from University and Olympiad) and pits student athletes from universities worldwide against each other, will be held from the 12th to the 23rd of this month.
The athletes, who will for the first time be competing in the games under the BOTESSA banner, were selected from the country’s tertiary institutions while two are locals based at universities abroad.
According to Melusi Rampart, BOTESSA’s Public Relations Officer, the athletes will be participating as student athletes of the University of Botswana.
It will be the first time for athletes from other institutions that make up BOTESSA to be taking part in the competition.
“UB has always been participating in these competitions as a university representing the country and thus we will go there under the name of UB. We have, however, decided that since the institutions under BOTESSA are for university grade students, which are a requirement, we as BOTESSA need to take over from UB to include all other deserving student athletes,” the BOTESSA PRO said in an interview.
Rampart says as such, his association will be taking over the organisation of any future University games.
Commenting on the athletes who will be taking part in this year’s Universiade, the BOTESSA PRO said the athletes were selected during various games hosted by the association while those from universities outside Botswana were selected based on their performances at their universities.
Rampart says the athletes are currently in camp, which started last week Friday and are expected to be in camp until Tuesday. He says they have selected a very solid team for the championships and is confident that it will represent the country well.
“Some of these athletes were in the junior national team that performed well at the Southern Africa Region Junior Athletics Championships while others are in the national team and may go to the All Africa Games (AAG),” Rampart said in an interview.
While saying they have not set any target for the Universiade, the BOTESSA spokesperson said they are hopeful to get at least one medal from the games.
“It is the first time that we as BOTESSA send a team to the games and we do not want to put pressure on the athletes. We can, however, assure you that we are going there to compete and are confident that our athletes will perform well,” he added. The team will be coached by University of Botswana team coach, Patrick Moesi, who also serves as BOTESSA’s Secretary General.