Botswana poised to make history at World Relays

• BAA’s aim is for all relay teams taking part to qualify for Tokyo 2020

Botswana poised to make history at World Relays
(Pic: MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO)

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) sent relay teams to World Athletics Relays with one aim only - to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, BAA’s Vice President Administration, Oabona Theetso has said.

The World Relays are scheduled to take place this weekend (May 1 and 2) in Silesia, Poland where BAA has sent 19 athletes to compete in four different events, namely the men's 4x100m, the men’s & women’s 4x400m and the mixed  4x400m relay.

Known as the IAAF World Relays until 2019, the World Athletics Relays is an international biennial track and field sporting event held by World Athletics where teams from around the world compete in relay races. The top eight finishers at the competition will get automatic berths for the Olympics that are scheduled to begin on July 23 in Tokyo, Japan.

“Those athletes went there to compete, not to take chances,” Theetso said in a telephonic interview with this publication. “We expect the relay team to qualify for the Olympics because we want to send a big team to Tokyo. One of our mandates is to promote sports tourism and it is through these competitions that we can do so.”

The competition, which was held at Nassau, Bahamas in April 2017, saw the men’s 4×400 become silver medalists while the women’s team finished sixth in the final. Chances are high for Botswana to perform even better at this year’s edition, considering that athletics powerhouses like the USA, Jamaica and Canada have withdrawn from the competition because of COVID-19 concerns.

“The most challenging thing about this year’s World Relays is that athletes are currently not running their fastest times. So it is difficult to weigh our opponents,” said former athlete, Daniel Lagamang, in response to a question about the Botswana team’s chances in Poland.

“But we have strong teams that can perform well and pull surprises. Take the men's 4x400m as an example. I think it is going to finish in the final and might even win a medal. Isaac Makwala’s experience is going to be vital to its performance, as will Amantle Nakape’s  (Montsho) influence on the ladies 4x400m.”

Botswana’s Team at the World Relays 

Men’s 4x100m: Thapelo Monaiwa, Leaname Maotoanong, Thuto Masasa, Koorapetse Lesotlho, Letsile Tebogo and Karabo Mothibi.

Men’s 4x400m: Karabo Sibanda, Leungo Scotch, Isaac Makwala, Ditiro Nzamani, Boitumelo Masilo, Bayapo Ndori, Zibane Ngozi.

Women’s 4x400m: Galefele Moroko, Christine Botlogetswe, Amantle Victor-Nkape, Thomphang Basele, Oratile Nowe, Loungo Matlhaku.

Mixed 4x400m: The Botswana team for this event is yet to be named yet or made public.