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Concern over athletes’ welfare after Doha trip

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Amos did not race due to injury
The 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha did not evoke excitement as the team was regarded as underdogs when it left for the competition.

Deprived of seasoned runners like Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda, there was low anticipation for a medal.

Only the 4x400m relay teams were still in contention before last night’s race.

On an individual level, the Doha trip has proved to be a disaster. Nijel Amos, who carried the nation’s hope in 800m, pulled out injured even before the race started.

Galefele Moroko, who acquainted herself well in 400m, was also struck down by injury during her race.  But even before the intervention of injuries, there were question marks over the team’s preparations.

Some critics argue that the results are indicative of how much effort was put in the team’s preparations.

Botswana last won a medal at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, when Amantle Montsho was crowned the world’s 400m champion.

In Doha, the team started on a low note with Amos pulling out. Christine Botlogetswe could not proceed beyond the first round, finishing sixth with a time of 53.27 in the heats. Moroko, making her debut on the international stage, brought hope as she finished first with a Personal Best (PB) of 50.59 in the heats. But injury struck in the semi final. Ditiro Nzamani finished fourth with a time of 46.19 in his heats and therefore could not progress. Leungo
Scotch qualified for the semi finals, where he finished fifth with a PB of 45.00. The team manager, Oabona Theetso said investment in the team was low.

“You cannot expect positive results if you do not invest in sport. The athletes do not have proper lifestyle despite being in the national
team. They

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walk to training and they are not even given proper attire. The conditions break my heart,” he said.

Theetso said they prepared for the World Championships through local and international competitions. The team competed at the
Senior Southern Region Championships held in Mauritius before heading to Cameroon where Nzamani qualified with 45.07.

The relay team also travelled to Bahamas for the World Relays where they did well. They were
also invited to Manchester where the women’s relay team came out tops.

The Africa Games was also a success story especially for Moroko who qualified for Tokyo 2020.

“Our hope was on Amos, unfortunately he picked an injury. The rest of the team is here for exposure and to do their PBs. Moroko recorded her PB in the 400m heat and Scotch did his PBs during the 400m heat and semi final,” Theetso said.
He said the wish is for the relay teams to reach the finals because they would have automatically qualified for the Olympics.

Theetso said the other reason that led to the poor showing was the long athletics season. He said normally the season ends in August but this year it stretches to October, which leads to injuries. Theetso said some of the injuries that the athletes are dealing with are recurring ones from the past seasons.

“Amos is undergoing rehabilitation and he has not been training with the team for the past two weeks. As for Botlogetswe, she came here
with a nagging ankle injury. Moroko is out for six to eight weeks due to hamstring injury,” he said.



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