University of Botswana (UB) pulled off a stellar performance at the just ended All Africa University Games which were held in Mekelle Ethiopia, and emerged position 9 out of 46 Universities in Africa.
Although they had a target of 4 medals since they took fewer athletes to the games due to financial constraints, they managed to pull a shocker abd scooped 6 medals – 2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.
The Director of Sports, Culture and Recreation Raj Rathedi hailed the games a success on their side. “We only took 18 athletes and 3 caretakers, as such we did not expect the number of medals that we brought home, it is indeed a great achievement,” he says.
He also said going forward they can only improve on the quality and experience of their athletes. “Such games develop athletes and it is our wish to see students performing extremely well in the games,” he says.
The men’s volleyball who are the gold medalists were said to have worked really well in preparing for the games. “In 2016 in Pretoria the team brought home silver medals, this time around they made us proud by winning all their five scheduled games hence getting gold for their efforts,” says Rathedi.
Asked on how students coped in a different location, Rathedi saluted the students saying they were true ambassadors of Botswana. “From my past experiences I did expect some organisational challenges but we had prepared our students psychologically, and they coped,” he added.
Moreover, Rathedi further highlighted that at the next games in 2020 they hope to improve and do much better. “Next time we hope to raise money because UB has a pool of talent which can be nurtured. That way we will improve the athletes who will represent us in international competitions in the future.”
UB’s 2 gold medals were scooped by the men’s volleyball team and Lesedi Omondi who represented UB in High Jump. Cliff Meshack who ran 400m and Londani from chess each got silver medals respectively, whilst Thapelo Monaiwa from Long Jump and the men’s 4*4 relay team brought home bronze medals.
Rathedi congratulated the efforts of the organisers of the event adding that it is never easy organising games of such magnitude especially for 46 Universities. “It was their first experience. They could not avoid certain challenges associated with such competitions but the organisers did their best and they need to be encouraged,” he says.