The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) will be sending a team of five athletes to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships scheduled for Denmark next week. The team which is currently on camp include some of the finest half marathon runners in the country comprising of three men and two women.
The men’s team includes Rapula Diphoko (Diacore), Sesebo Sbula Matlapeng (Diacore) and Tlholego Keitshokile (Mmadinare Athletics Club). Only two women including Mema Tiango (Diacore) and Mosadikwena Maitumelo Gotswakgosi (Diacore) will form part of the team. In an interview this week BAA spokesperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said the team is currently on camp in anticipation of the world championships. “The team was selected at the end of the Cross-Country finals which were held in Palapye last month,” he said.
The BAA mouthpiece said the local team will be making a return to the world championships after being absent for a number of years. “Botswana only competed at the IAAF Cross Country world championships held in Uganda last year. This competition provides local athletes with an opportunity to win prize money that ranges between P80 000 and P300 000).”
According to Ramatshaba members of the team have used the BAA Cross Country Series that runs from November until February to prepare for the international showpiece. He further explained that the race will feature the 10 km cross country format currently used in Botswana. “We have been given a quota for one male and one female athlete, which mean we will be paying flight tickets for the rest of the team.”
Ramatshaba said other teams like Kenya were given more slots because of their recent performance at the IAAF event. “If we give an impressive performance at the race, our quota is likely to be improved.” According to Ramatshaba the international event will be expected to help local athletes as they will be embarking on other high-profile events like the Diacore Gaborone Marathon (DGM) which is scheduled for May. Meanwhile, Ramatshaba said the team will be travelling without a coach because of financial constraints. Brian Mosweu is expected to travel with the team as manager.