“We have always dominated the 400m races in Africa,” says BAA’s pro Theetso who speaks of medals from every meet this year.
Following a successful year in 2021, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is faced with an eventful 2022 as it readies for competitive global championships that are on its calendar of events this year.
BAA did exceptionally well last year, winning the country its second Olympics medal through the 4 X 400m relay team which won a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and the junior team’s brilliant performance at the World U-20 from which it brought home three gold medals and a silver.
BAA has already put in place an activity plan for this year, starting with a local meet slated for 15 January at the National Stadium in Gaborone. The first two championships will be held in Gaborone and Francistown in order to give all athletes a fair chance to qualify for world events.
In a recent interview with Gazette Sport, BAA spokesperson Oabona Theetso spoke of an existing solid plan that will favour every athlete across the country who aspires to qualify for this year’s elite competitions. “We will officially open our season next week in Gaborone for everyone and go to Francistown after two weeks where we will have a similar competition for those based in the northern part of the country,” Theetso said.
“In order to try and reduce movement of athletes across the country, we demarcated our country into two last year and we are sticking to that plan this year. This is going to be a hectic year for us with lots of events coming and we want each and every athlete to qualify for at least one international championship. We don’t want a situation where an athlete qualifies for every competition because we don’t want them to be fatigued at any point.”
He confirmed that they will take part in all four international events lined up for this year, the Senior Africa Championships bin Mauritius in June, the World Athletics Championships billed for the United States, the World Athletics Junior Championships in Colombia and the Commonwealth Games in England in July. “All these competitions are very important to us,” said Theetso. “We want to win medals in all the events and have athletes who are really overdue for a podium finish and some with titles to defend. We have always dominated the 400m races in Africa.
“Four years ago, our team did well at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, winning three gold medals and a silver through Amantle Montsho, Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe and the 4 X 400m relay men. We have lots of athletes who can win more medals for us, especially the youngsters,”. He concluded.
Batswana will be pinning their hopes on athletes like Makwala who is set to retire at the end of this year, World Junior 400m champion Anthony Pesela, World Junior 100m champion Letsile Tebogo, Nijel Amos, Leungo Scotch, Galefele Moroko and Christine Botlogetswe, among others.
Botswana has only finished on the podium twice at the World Championships, in 2011 and 2013, through Montsho who retired from athletics last year.