- Longtime rivals Nigel Amos and Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich will be aiming to outclass each other yet again
Athletics enthusiasts should expect nothing less than fireworks on 30 April when this year’s Gaborone International Meet (GIM) will explode before them at the National Stadium in Gaborone with elite African athletes, BAA spokesman Calistus Kolantsho has told The Business Weekly Sports.
GIM is a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze event that athletes use as a qualifier for international competitions like the Africa Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Under 20 Championships and the prestigious World Championships.
“Preparations for the event are going well and everything is on course,” said Kolantsho of Botswana Athletics Association in an interview.” We are expecting a very strong field on the day as top athletes have already confirmed their participation. Excitement is very high among local athletes, especially those who never get an opportunity to compete at international level and will now face Africa’s best athletes.”
However, Kolantsho said BAA faces a serious problem of sponsorship. “Hosting a competition is very expensive because we incur travel and accommodation costs for invited athletes, hence our need for more sponsorships,” he pointed out. “But that is not going to stop us from hosting a successful meet and we are grateful to some of our sponsors like the sports ministry that has supported us with over P400 000.”
The much-anticipated GIM has managed to attract elite athletes who usually participate in prominent competitions like the Diamond League. They include Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich who finished second in the men’s 800m at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Rotich has been a great rival of Botswana’s 800m sensation Nigel Amos for the longest time and will be expected to outclass each other yet again at the GIM.
Another notable athlete coming to the GIM is Christine Mboma of Namibia who won a silver medal in the women’s 200m at the Tokyo Olympics after she finished behind Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica in 21.18 – the fastest time ever run by a woman under the age of 20. Mboma will be accompanied by her compatriot in Beatrice Masilingi who earned a silver in the women’s 100m at the World Athletics Under 20 Championships tin Nairobi, Kenya last year.
The GIM will also see top local athletics giants in the likes of the reigning men’s 100m world junior champion Tebogo Letsile and Isaac Makwala, who was very influential in ensuring that Botswana’s bronze in the men’s 4x400m relay at the Tokyo Olympics. Others are Leungo Matlhaku (women’s 100m and 200m), Anthony Pesela (men’s 400m), Loungo Scotch (men’s 400m), Bayapo Ndori (men’s 400m), Chrsitine Botlogetswe (women’s 400m) and Lydia Jele (women’s 400m).
The GIM started 15 years ago as Sports View International Meet but was rebranded as GIM in 2016. It has three categories – premium, classic, and promotional. The Meet is hosted in collaboration with World Athletics, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Botswana National Sports Commission, Botswana National Olympic Committee, Botswana Athletics Association, Golden Door Sports Agency and various sponsors.