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BAA to spend P500,000 as athletics resume

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Set: Botlogetswe training at the National Stadium this week PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) expects to spend P500,000 as they resume track and field activities next month.

BAA is part of the sporting codes recently permitted to resume training after the national lockdown was lifted.

BAA vice president, Oabona Theetso told Mmegi Sport the amount would go towards screening and testing of athletes before the competition.

“Tests will only be conducted when there are suspected cases. BAA will be responsible for testing of athletes,” Theetso said 

Theetso said the decision to return to action was taken, as athletes could not continue to train without competing.

He said resuming activities does not mean they would host any major championship because that requires a budget, which they do not have.

“Our season was cut short so we are trying to compensate for lost time. The qualifications for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were closed so the athletes would not be qualifying for anything,” he said.

Theetso said it is an opportunity for athletes to run their Personal Best (PB) and Season’s Best (SB), which would help them as they prepare for the next season.

He said the idea was for athletes to be in good shape when Olympic’s qualifications resume in December.

“That would allow athletes to qualify on time and give coaches a chance to come up with programmes without pressure. When we resume competitions in August, we could be able to strategise when anything goes wrong,” Theetso said.

He said it would

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be very important to follow coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols.

Katlego Thwabi of UB Athletics Club said he believes it was not an easy decision for the BAA to make because of COVID-19.

“It is a good call because other countries such as United States of America (USA) have already held their athletics meets. It is only right that we follow suit and give our athletes the platform to be able to compete with the best,” he said.

Thwabi said COVID-29 protocols should be in place to curb the spread. Lion’s Den Club coach, Lebone Moreri is of the view that it might be too soon to start competitions. He said it might affect preparations for the Olympics, particularly for those who stand a chance to qualify.

“I suggest that BAA should allow clubs and all athletes to be tested a day before the competition. Clubs should bring results during registration,” Moreri said.

According to a letter from BAA, which was written to clubs on Wednesday, activities are scheduled to commence on August 8 in Gaborone.

“Activities would resume with approval from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). This decision was taken after thorough consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic situation,” the letter reads in part.

BAA informed clubs that the competitions would at the moment only be featured locally because of travel restrictions.



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