TloTlo Kebina Kgabo
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) have decided to resume their competitions schedule next month because they want their athletes to be in shape when the Tokyo Olympics qualification period recommences in December, BAA mouth piece Oabona Theetso has said. BAA last week announced that they have taken a resolution to resume with their 2020 calendar of activities starting from 8 August 2020, pending approval from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC).
Just like other sporting activities, the BAA earlier this year halted their calendar of activities in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after thorough consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the association has decided to resume with their competitions that will feature local athletes only. With that, when asked why they decided to resume with their competitions when fears of the COVID-19 are still apparent, Theetso said; “We decided to start early because we want our athletes to be in good shape when the qualification period resumes, that can enable them to qualify as early as possible.
Our athletes usually qualify around March and April so we do not want that to happen this year because we have realized that it burdens and pressurizes them; some end up panicking something which results in their failure to qualify.” Due to the COVID-19, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed to next year, something which also forced the IOC and IAAF to suspend the athletics qualification period between 5th April until 30 November 2020.
It now will resume from 1 December 2020 up to 29 June 2021. Four athletes have already qualified for the Olympics, they include Nijel Amos (men’s 800m) as well women 400m athletes in Galefele Moroko, Amantle Montsho and Christine Botlogetswe. Meanwhile, Theetso told this publication that they are yet to decide on Onkabetse Nkobolo and Baboloki Thebe’s case. This is after the two athletes earlier this year went against protocol by sneaking out of training camp on which they were at the end involved in a car accident.
Reports suggest that the two were returning from a party in the wee hours of the morning when the driver (Thebe) lost control of the car which then overturned. “We met as the BAA leadership this past weekend but we did not have time to discuss their case as we had other burning issues,” he said. “But we promise that we will conclude it very soon.”