- Quest to qualify more athletes persists
Gearing up for Budapest’23 World Athletics Championships, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is confronted with a financial hurdle of over P3 million to adequately prepare and compete at the prestigious event.
Oabona Theetso, Vice President of Administration at BAA, has emphasised the significance of securing the funds to ensure a successful campaign.
The allocated funds will primarily be utilized to cover all expenses associated with the local training camp, scheduled to commence in early August. “We will use the money throughout the entire competition period,” Theetso explained, in a telephone interview with this publication. “This P3 million, or possibly more, will be covered by the BAA grant, a portion of our DEBSWANA sponsorship, and we also expect the government to assist us. We have formally written to them and are currently awaiting their response.”
Undeterred by the financial challenge, Theetso further revealed that BAA remains determined to qualify more athletes for the World Championships. He highlighted the proactive measures taken by those athletes who have not yet secured qualification, as they have been actively participating in numerous international competitions. “We have hope that we will qualify more athletes,” Theetso stated confidently. “We have a pool of highly skilled individuals who have to qualify. Furthermore, we are optimistic about the mixed relay’s prospects for qualification.”
Among those who have already earned qualification for the World Championships thus far are Tebogo Letsile, Leungo Scotch, Bayopo Ndori, and Busang Kebinatshipi. The World Championships will be held from the 19th until the 27th of August in Budapest which is Hungary’s capital and is bisected by the River Danub. Budapest is also a global city with strengths in commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment.
However, Theetso acknowledged the concerning trend of the BAA struggling to qualify women for recent international competitions. When asked about this issue, he admitted, “We are facing challenges on the women’s side, and we are fully aware of that. We need to work diligently to ensure that women regain their qualifying status. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that women encounter numerous obstacles compared to men. Despite this, we will persist in our efforts to ensure their successful qualification.”
Meanwhile, the World Championships qualification period for all track and field events commenced on the 31st of July 2022 and will come to an end on 30July 2023.