Local long distance runners will be pushed to their physical and mental limits when the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) hosts the Cross-country national championships this weekend.
The marathon race is scheduled for Saturday and will start near Riverwalk shopping centre at 9am. Around 60 athletes from 19 BAA affiliate clubs are expected to compete in the gruelling race. The winners in different categories are expected to move on to compete at the regional championships scheduled for Swaziland before going on to world championships pencilled for Cardiff, United Kingdom later this year.
In an interview this week, BAA secretary general Kebaitse Legojane said athletes who will go on to represent the country at international stages need to record impressive times during the weekend race. “Some of the big clubs we will be having this weekend include Gaborone Runners Club (GRC), SSKB, Lefika, UB and Sports View. The race will also include senior and junior secondary schools including the popular Matshekge Hill School which has always produced great athletes,” he said.
“Among the 60 athletes competing, there will be those that are eligible to compete for prizes and those who will be running for pleasure and fitness.” Kebaitse added that runners who will be competing for prizes are those who have competed in at least two of the six races that lead up to the national cross-country finals.
Moreover, Legojane said the race categories will include a senior, junior and youth category for both male and female athletes. Speaking to BG Sport this week, BAA Vice President Glody Dube said they were expecting a very entertaining and tough race amongst the big names in the sport.
“We expect Kaelo Mosalagae, the bare-footed runner, to put up a tenacious resistance at the race. Mosalagae of Lefika Club is the defending national champion in the senior men’s category.”
Nevertheless, Dube said the talented Mosalagae will face tough competition from the likes of Shepard Kenatshele of SSKB.
Kenatshele is an emerging force in local marathon races after winning the well-attended build-up cross country race held in Kopong village recently. Another threat for the senior men’s crown will be the talented pretender to the crown Sesebo Matlapeng who usually comes to life in the closing phase of the race.
Other runners to look out for are Godiraone Nthompe (senior men) and Onkemetse Solotate (senior women).