The Botswana 4x100 relay team bound for the IAAF World Championships in London this weekend has been left in limbo after a qualifying mishap.
The team comprises Keene Motukisi, Karabo Mothibi, Ditiro Sebele and Xholani Talane. This week sources close to the matter said the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) could not establish whether the team has qualified for the international. “They did not know which criteria was used for qualification for the World Championships,” a source said.
“The team was previously told that the top 16 teams qualify for the IAAF Championship but this later changed after they were later told 38:44 sec was required to qualify for the event. This left the team perplexed after their hopes went up in smoke,” the source said.
The relay team went on to compete in Zimbabwe registering a time of 38:62, which according to the BAA does not qualify them for the Championships. Moreover, the team experienced further frustrations when it could not travel to race in Nigeria to try and record better time as the BAA could not finance the trip.
“The team is currently ranked amongst the top 10 in the world but it’s actually sad that they cannot get the opportunity to compete against those top athletes in the world although they have earned it and worked hard towards it.”
With BAA not being able to assist, the team did not let the state of affairs discourage their dreams as they joined hands and raised P24 000 amongst themselves. However they could only manage a slow time of 39:94 in Nigeria.
“This team has not been supported since day one people out there do not believe in the 4x100 relay team probably they feel threatened by teams like Jamaica and United States of America when it comes to this race.”
For his part, BAA spokeperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said the athletes needed a time of 38:44 or better to qualify for the championships. “We just know that they needed to register 38:44 to qualify for the championships we do not know about the top 16,” said Ramatshaba.
Ramatshaba further said they could not gather funds from Botswana National Sports Commission therefore they could not fly the team to Nigeria for their second race. “We could not put the money together for the team, we could not even get sponsors for the team, our hands were tied.”
Furthermore Ramatshaba said they could not assist the team in any way as registrations for the Championships closed last week Friday. “We cannot do anything now, South Africa is currently experiencing a similar situation.”