The country’s swimming star, Naomi Ruele, became the first Motswana to qualify for Olympics in swimming after she recorded a time of 26.06s in the 50 metres backstroke at NCAA Championships in Atlanta, USA..
The US-based Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) Elite Scholarship beneficiary had represented her Florida International University (FIU) at the USA Championships where she scooped the first position in her event. Thus she qualified to compete at NCAA Championships where she sent a very strong message to Botswana by becoming the first to reach Olympics with swimming. The 19 year old’s qualification came as a surprise to many who know South Africa and Egypt to be the only African powerhouses in the sport of swimming.
Ruele has become the 5th athlete to qualify for the Rio Olympics after the country’s golden boys of athletics, Nijel Amos, Isaac Makwala, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Baboloki Thebe. Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho expressed delight at Ruele’s feat, saying: “We are happy that Ruele qualified, though it is with a B-standard, but we believe she will represent the country well since she is the first Motswana to qualify with swimming and having been the best we have in swimming.”
He said Ruele still has a chance to better her time and still qualify with other swimming styles in A-standard as there are 900 slots in swimming at the Olympics.
“We will continue to support her with her training and encourage her to work hard in registering a good time in the coming qualifying games,” added Serufho. The country still has hope on Boxing, Athletics and other codes to qualify and stand a chance to challenge for a two medal target of the BNOC.