Paralympics Team Celebrates Success At Kobe Championships

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The Botswana Paralympics team arrived at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on Monday basking in the glory of their achievements at the Kobe 2024 Para Athletics World Championships in Japan. The team brought home a bronze medal, and most of its athletes reached the finals for the first time in history.

Tshepo Nafereka, President of the Paralympics Association of Botswana (PASSOBO), praised the team’s performance. “We did well returning with a single bronze medal, and for the first time, most of our athletes made it to the finals except one,” he stated.

Nafereka extended special appreciation to Gloria Majaga, who secured a bronze medal with a personal best time of 13.41 seconds. In her event, Lamiya Valiyeva of Azerbaijan took gold with a championship record of 11.94 seconds, while Rayane da Silva claimed silver with a time of 12.41 seconds.

PASSOBO, sponsored by Debswana and Botswana National Sports Council(BNSC), sent five track athletes and technical staff to the championships. Boikanyo Ratlou, the team manager, highlighted the preparation that went into their success. “We started camp on April 5, with athletes in better condition than in all previous preparatory camps,” Ratlou said.

Aside from Gloria Majaga’s standout performance, other notable athletes included Ronald Rich, who reached the finals in both the 400m and 200m events but was disqualified in the 200m due to a false start. Bose Mokgwathi and Edwin Masuge also made it to the finals, finishing 7th and 5th respectively.

The Kobe 2024 Para Athletics World Championships took place from May 17 to May 25 at the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium. This 11th edition featured over 1,000 athletes from more than 100 nations, competing in 168 medal events. It was the first time the championships were held in East Asia, following previous editions in Doha and Dubai.

Reflecting on the future, Nafereka expressed optimism for the upcoming 2024 Summer Paralympics in Paris, scheduled from August 28 to September 8. “We have a hardworking team motivated to reach new heights. We are now preparing for the Paris Games and will reveal the list of qualifying athletes around June,” he stated.

The Paris 2024 Paralympics are expected to enhance the visibility of para-sports, celebrate the achievements of athletes with disabilities, and promote social inclusivity, creating a lasting legacy for the global community.

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