- It eases preparations for international competitions- Ramatshaba
- As Botswana sends a team of five to World Cross Country Champs
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) mouthpiece Ipolokeng Ramatshaba has heaped praise on the Diacore Gaborone Marathon running program stating that it eases local road runners’ preparations ahead of international competitions. In 2016 ,Diacore Gaborone Marathon introduced a running program for local elite long distance runners which seeks to help them qualify for international competitions amongst them the 2020 Toyko Olympics. Through the program, Diacore takes care of the athletes’ accommodation, training and food amongst others.
Ramatshaba expressed his gratitude for the Diacore program in a telephonic interview with Gazette Sports ahead of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships . The championships are scheduled for Aarhus, Denmark on the 31st of this month on which BAA is expected to send a team of five athletes to the competition. The team reported for training camp yesterday (18 Monday) and is expected to depart to the competition on March 28.
“The reason why we scheduled a short training camp for our team is because the bulk of our team is made up of athletes under the Diacore running program which means they are always in camp,” Ramatshaba said. “ It’s not like we do not have money to schedule a lengthy training camp for them, no we are just doing a continuation of the Diacore program and doing final touches here and there. We are really happy of the aid Diacore gives our athletes, it really helps to keep our athletes in shape and ready for competitions.”
He further said they expect this year’s team to perform better than the last team, “but its not going to be easy for them. Remember that that is one of the highest competitions in the Cross Country calendar so our athletes are going to be against the world’s heavyweights.” Ramatshaba said they expect the men to finish in the top six as they will be running as a team, “ then they will be eligible for prize money, the ladies will be running as individuals and we also expect them to do well.”
The team is made up of Rapula Diphoko, Sesebo Matlapeng both from Diacore and Tlholego Keitshokile of Mmadinare Athletics Club, they will compete in the men’s section. Mema Tiango and Mosikwena Gotswakgosi from Diacore will represent in the ladies category with Brian Mosweu being the team manager.
Said the World Cross Country Championships team member Matlapeng: “Training is going well and we are now working on speed, we need to be strong in all ways because we are going to be facing top athletes form different countries . We are going there to give a fight and make sure that we represent our country well.”