- The team still needs to win one race before qualifying
- BAA working around the clock to aid the team qualify
LETLHOGILE MPUANG & BOINEELO RANKWAILA
Botswana’s mens 4×100 relay team’s hopes of qualifying for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London are hanging in the balance. This is despite recently clocking a new national record.
From August 5-13, the world’s best and fastest athletes will square off in London, in search of being crowned World Champions. This country has also in recent years proven to be amongst some of the leading nations in the track and field sport.
Athletes such as Nijel Amos, Issac Makwala and Amantle Montsho have inspired a great deal of talent who have bursted onto the scene and proven to be a force to be reckoned with, the list includes runners such as Karabo Sibanda, Baboloki Thebe, Lydia Jele, Onkabetse Nkobolo in name of just a few.
Though the list above is characterised by 400m runners, a good number of 100m sprinters have come up well through the ranks. Recently the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) sent a team to participate in Zimbabwe, where the locals 4×100 mens team won gold, and also posted a new national record of 32.62 seconds.
The time was reported too good to see the team gain an automatic qualification to the London games, but according to IAAF standards, the team will need one last race to cement a berth at the competition.
BAA Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ipoloke Ramatshaba told Gazette Sport in an interview that the association is working around the clock to assist the team qualify for one of athletics biggest competitions.
“The association is currently working around the clock to find races. We will not give up because the last days is still far. Anyone can still qualify so as the association we are scavenging all races available around four corners of the world to try to get out athletes to qualify particularly our 4×100m relay team,” Ramatshaba told Gazette Sport.
Despite an adamant Ramatshaba stating that they are positive of getting the team a race to help them qualify, this publication has learnt that this might not turn out as said. According to a source at the BAA, the team has been left in the dark on the developments regarding their possible ticket to London.
“Yes, there is talk of the team going to compete sometime soon, and hopefully clock another good time and qualify for the world champs, but the problem here is that the team is not being consulted at all. If they (BAA) were serious about helping the team qualify, at least they should have organised a camp by now for the team,” revealed the source.
The informer added that, “There has also been a talk of the association not having enough funds regarding this particular instance of finding a race for the team, but we have to wait and see.”
Ramatshaba could not comment of rumours speculating that the association is broke and cannot afford to take athletes to compete. He rather stressed out that any race available they will take athletes to honour the invite. Gazette Sport understands that BAA has been invited to a competition in Nigeria on the 12th of July, and could decide on taking the team there. Closing dates for qualification is 23rd July. The team is made up of Keene Motukisi, Karabo Mothibi, Ditiro Sebele and Xholani Talane.
Meanwhile, the country’s U20 team left off to Algeria to take part in this year’s World Youth Championships, and the BAA is confident that the team will do well at the games.