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BAA To Return To Competitions Next Year

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The athletics association worried by the spiking cases of COVID-19

TLOTLO KEBINAKGABO

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) will only return with competitions on 2021 due to the accelerating cases of COVID-19 in the country, the Association Vice President Administration Oabona Theetso has said.

Just like other local sporting codes, the BAA towards the end of March 2020 halted their calendar of activities in order to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.BAA nevertheless announced on July that they took a resolution to return to competitions on August after getting a green light to do so from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC).

The local athletics motherbody however failed to do so as the country’s COVID-19 cases began to accelerate something which resulted in a lockdown in the Greater Gaborone Zone. “The Association intends to take all the necessary steps cautiously to ensure that we move forward without going back and forth, which has been the case with the current National Health situation (Covid 19 Regulations),” reads a statement released by BAA towards the end of August. “It is against this background that we would like to inform you that all Botswana Athletics Events/Competitions/Races will be put on hold until further notice.”

Now, BAA will only return to competitions next year as according to Theetso. “The COVID-19 cases are increasing so we can’t manage to endanger our athletes lives,” he said. “ We have decided to suspend the activities until the situation gets better and that will be next year because as of now most athletes are in the off season, they have stopped training. The best thing is to begin next year.”

He said that however, should not stop athletes to compete outside the country. “BAA is not responsible for athletes’ involvement in competitions like the Diamond League, “ he noted. “ That is the athletes as well as their managers’ responsibility. It is our wish that they could be competing like other athletes as they could be generating money for themselves as well as getting fit; some were also going to qualify for the Olympics.”

Meanwhile , due to the COVID-19, the Tokyo Olympics have been 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. The qualification period will now resume on 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.

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