- They hold that it gives them more time to prepare
- Athletes that already qualified get to keep their spots
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) have welcomed the new and extended Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games qualification dates as they feel the adjustment gives them an opportunity to prepare further and send more athletes to the games, Gazette Sport can reveal.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) late last month announced that the Olympics, which were scheduled for Tokyo, Japan from the 24th of July until Agust 9 2020, would now held next year from the 23rd of July to August 8. The postponement was due to the current stain of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The IOC has also been forced to make adjustments to the qualification period which was supposed to elapse on the June 29 this year. According to a statement released by IOC last week, revised qualification dates will now run from December 1 2020 to 29 June 2021.
When asked to comment on the new dates, BAA vice president administration Oabona Theetso noted that revising the dates was the only fair thing to do as athletes are now inactive due to the virus . “ And the qualification was to come to an end on the 29 of June this year of which it was not going to be fair those who did not qualify,” he said. “ It now comes as a blessing in disguise to them that the qualification period has been extended.”
Theetso went on to note that the revised qualifiation dates also gives them (as BAA) more time to even prepare further and possibly qualify more athletes. Athletics have so far qualified four athletes for the games and they are; Galefele Moroko, Christine Botlogetswe, Amantle Montsho who all qualified in the women’s 400m category as well as Nijel Amos in the men’s 800m. The BAA vice president administration is hopeful that the number will increase if at all they are allocated more funds.
BoBA through mouthpiece Taolo Tlouetsile also okayed the revised qualification dates stating that their hope (as BoBA) is that more funds will be availed to them. BoBA have thus far qualified one boxer (Keamogetse Kenosi) for the games and according to Tlouetsile they can still qualify two more.“ For us if funds are there we will do the work of which a lot of it will be done by coaches. I think the challenge that they will face is repositioning the mentality of the boxers from the virus and working on their weight so that they can regain their shape quickly,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to IOC, athletes and National Olympic Commitee that have already obtained an Olympic qualification quota place will retain this despite the postponement of the Games. “In all, 57 per cent of the total athlete quota places have already been allocated so far, with approximately 5,000 athlete quota places still to be assigned,” IOC noted in an statement released last week.