Cross-country race opens athletics season

Tshepo Kehimile - BG Correspondent
Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Cross-country race opens athletics season

The Cross-Country running event that will be held in Gaborone this coming Saturday is anticipated to prepare and qualify local athletes for major upcoming events such as the World Cross-Country Championships and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) National Finals.

This was confirmed this week by the Sports View Runners Club Chairperson, Glody Dube who are billed with hosting this year’s event after hosting the previous edition. Cross-Country running involves running a race on an open air-course over natural terrain such as dirt or grass.According to Dube, they are excited to have been preferred to host this year’s event, “We are always amongst the top list of nominees to host this occasion each and every year,” he said.

Furthermore, Dube reiterated that the Cross-Country running event is meant to aid athletes to qualify for major tournaments.  “Cross-Country events are one of the easiest occasions for athletes to qualify as they are not normally judged by specific time because they compete in different environments such as dirt and grass. However, if an athlete performs well in the Cross-Country series, he or she automatically qualifies to represent the country at the World Cross-Country Championships which are scheduled to take place on the 30th March this year in Aarhus, Denmark,” said Dube.

Categories that will be available on the day include 10 Kilometres (KM) Senior Men & Women, 8KM Junior Boys, 6KM Youths Boys & Junior Girls and lastly 4KM for Youths Girls.Nevertheless, Dube said the athlete’s fitness level might prove crucial, “We are just fresh from a Christmas break, and most athletes have been engaged with all sorts of activities at their respective home villages thus it will require a lot of effort to return back to their shapes,” said the Chairperson.

On the other hand, local defending Cross-Country Champion Rapula Diphoko said it is only the beginning of the year and he just started his training, “I have just returned from off-season, and I am going to take the coming Cross-Country as my fitness builder so that I come back to my best for the second Cross-Country series which is slated for February and subsequently start to impose competition as I want to qualify for the World Cross-Country Championship in March,” said Diphoko.

Quizzed about his goals for 2019, the ambitious runner said he wants to qualify for every tournament that is on offer this year, “Honestly, this year I intend to focus only on the track in preparation for the World Championships and other major tournaments and I have to work and train hard. And most essentially, to work towards beating my personal best,” he said. The event is expected to take place on Saturday 12th at 10am in front of Gaborone Technical College (GTC) and the registration fee for every athlete is P20.00.

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