A total of seven junior athletes from Maun BDF Athletics Club will form part of Team Botswana that will represent the country at the 2022 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 under 20 Youth Games slated for next month in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) will send 30 athletes (15 males and 15 females) for the competitions that will be held from December 2nd- 11th.
Athletes from Maun athletics clubs are Obakeng Kamberuka (400m)-female, Gaontebale Soulo (400m)-male, Winnie Sarefo(100/200m)-female, Kelebonye Otela(100/200m)-male, Abofelo Leitseng (100m/200)-male, Stensol Sibanda (100/200m)-male and Brenno Friday (shot put)-male.
The club’s coach, Meleko Ndolo told Times Sport that they started their preparations for the games in September this year to get the selected athletes ready. The coach indicated that the last time they participated at the Region 5 games was in 2021 when they were held in Lesotho. He appreciated that the games are crucial as they have shaped most of their senior athletes who are now recognised internationally.
Ndolo added that getting an opportunity to participate with other Southern African countries is a great opportunity that will give their junior athletes exposure, taking into consideration that in Botswana there are minimal athletics competitions.
He noted that through the competition their athletes will stand a chance to qualify for other international athletics competition such as the 2023 African World Junior Championships and World Athletics U20 Championships.
Ahead of the competitions, Ndolo is happy that the athletes have shown commitment and hard work in different athletics competitions that were held previously as well as during the training sessions.
He indicated that four of the athletes have previously participated at the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships which were held from the 1st to 6th of August 2022 in Cali, Colombia among other international competitions and local ones. Ndolo noted that the performance which the athletes have already shown proves that they have the potential to compete in other international competitions.
“Our concern however is that though we have very talented and committed athletes we still lack support from the business community and different stakeholders to play a part in the development of our athletes,” Ndolo lamented.
For his part, national team’s coach, Keamogetse Rancholo stated that the entire team will commence their training camp on Friday where they will continue with their preparations for the competitions. He noted that during the camp medical assessments and other requirements will be conducted.
Besides athletics, Botswana will also be represented in other sporting codes such as football, netball, tennis, volleyball, Paralympics, boxing and swimming.