Botswana: Sport Ban Kills Tokyo Dream


National team coach Dipeba worried

Aims for more athletes to qualify too

Olympic Games billed for August 2021

BAKANG TIRO

editors@thepatriot.co.bw

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) national team coach Justice Dipeba says the continuing ban on sporting activities as a result of government’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 is killing momentum of athletes.

In an interview on Friday, coach Dipeba said the national team preparations for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is thrown into doubt due lack of athletes not being exposed to competitive tournaments. He noted that the national team athletes are continuing with training but said it is not enough.

“It is very difficult to prepare for the Olympic qualifications because of the ban on sport. The local sport has been affected equally by the ban but sometimes it is not the situations that we can control. Training the team with competitive races doesn’t serve any purpose at all,” he said.

In addition, Dipeba said it is important for the national athletes to qualify in numbers for games.

So far only five (5) Botswana athletes have qualified for the Olympic Games and they include Galefele Moroko, Amantle Montsho, Christine Botlogetswe and the boxer Keamogetse Kenosi.

Other three local (3) athletes being Karabo Kula (Taekwondo), Magdelene Moyengwa (Weight lifting) and Bakang Ebudilwe (Cycling) are also in line vying for the Olympics’s wild card entry.

The lanky 800 metres sprinter Amos remains the only local athlete to win an Olympic medal after securing the silver in the 800 metres at London 2012 where he had a brilliant performance.

“Our target is to have more athletes qualifying for the Olympics as well as keeping the fitness level of those who have qualified at top level. Some of the atlhetes should travel outside the country to compete in some tournaments that will be important in boosting their competitive but it is hard due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. We hoping for the better,” said Dipeba.

Also, the athletics tactician noted with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccination, there is hope for the sport sector just like others noting that it will be good if athletes are prioritized first in vaccination.

Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters

Get the latest in African news delivered straight to your inbox