Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is dominating the Olympic solidarity Scholarships for elite athletes. The scholarships announced by the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) are meant to assist and prepare athletes towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Earlier this week, Botswana National Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Tuelo Serufho revealed that (7) elite athletes including Babuluki Thebe, Karabo Sibanda, Isaac Makwala, Nigel Amos, Onkabetse Nkobolo Christine Botlogetswe and Lydia Jele have successfully secured scholarships.
As the best performing sport code locally, Serufho said they are confident that through the scholarship, the Botswana Athletics Association athletes will be able to get world standard training, which will come in handy during the next Olympic games. Botswana has set herself a target of four medals at the 2020 Olympics.
The scholarship, he said includes coaching fees, stipend and accommodation. They will also be covering athletes travel expenses. Other beneficiaries include Naomi Ruele of swimming and Matshidiso Ebudile of cycling.
In an interview earlier this week, Botswana Athletics Assocaition president Thari Mooketsi said he is pleased that his athletes will have a stable training program ahead of Tokyo 2020. He explained that Makwala and Amos’s splendid performance last year was because of the same scholarship.
“It was unfortunate that the two athletes could not win medals at the World Championships staged in London however they are amongst the few who did well in the IAAF Diamond league,” Thari said.
The BAA is confident that with the right training program and coaching, the seven athletes will perform to expectations. Thari revealed that he is also a happy man in that 400m runner Leaname Maotoanong and the women’s 4x400 relay team sprinter Galefele Moroko are being financial assisted by the BNOC to train.
Moreover, Thari is convinced that BAA will be unleashing future athletes who are currently drawing inspiration from the likes of Thebe and Makwala. The BAA president said they are considering the introduction of an out of school camp where they will be focusing children who are not in school.
Meanwhile, ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth games scheduled for Gold Coast, Australia in April, the team is reported to be in camp. Botswana will be sending 27 athletes and 24 officials to Australia where they are hoping to bring back at least 7 medals.
Botswana has a set target of eight medals. So far the country managed to secure only one bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games held in Bahamas last year through James Freeman in the men’s 1500m freestyle.