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Athletes miss out as world event postponed

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Lost opportunity: Balemogi had qualified for this year’s event PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Six local athletes have missed out on a chance to take part at the World Under-20 Championships after the competition was postponed.

The World Athletics (WA) announced this week that the event, would now take place next year between August 17 and 22 in Nairobi.

The competition will take place a week after the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were also postponed from this year to 2021.

Local athlete, Kealeboga Balemogi was one of the six local athletes who had qualified for the world event. He would have competed in the 400m hurdles.  His coach, Justice Dipeba said they had anticipated the postponement due to the COVID-19 impact.

“It is a tricky one because like I said, Balemogi has missed out on the opportunity,” he said. Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president-administration, Oabona Theetso said some of the athletes could miss out due to age restrictions.

“We had six athletes who had qualified for the championships during the Botswana Games. We are yet

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to inform them about the postponement. It is unfortunate that some of them would be cut off by age. Our hope is now based on the AUSC Region V games that would be held in December in Lesotho,” he said. Theetso said they expect the regional games to go ahead as planned as there have been no suggestions of postponement or cancellation.  

The competition would be used as a qualifier for next year’s Under-20 World Championships. “The current global situation would have seriously compromised the event at this time as many countries are restricting international travel, invoking necessary quarantines and advising citizens and event organisers to avoid mass gatherings.  We had to consider the health and well-being of athletes, officials and spectators in making this call,” WA said on the decision to move the event.



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