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BNSC suspends BAA over COVID violations

MQONDISI DUBE
Running into trouble: Athletics has been suspended over COVID-19 violations PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has suspended Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) from holding any activity due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) violations.

The BAA held athletics tournaments, where it exceeded the permitted limit of 50 people. As a result, the BNSC did not hesitate to punish the athletics body. BAA vice president, Oabona Theetso confirmed the suspension on Wednesday.

“Yes, we have been suspended for exceeding 50 attendants,” Theetso said. “It is until further notice, pending our submission of a plan of how we are going to conduct our activities going forward,” he added.

The BAA is in the middle of preparing the athletics team for the Olympic Games, with athletes attempting to qualify for the July tournament.

However, acting BNSC chairperson, Tuelo Serufho said there would be no more athletics events until the BAA comes up with a plan indicating how they would comply with COVID-19 regulations.

“The BAA cannot host an event, even for the national team unless and until they have submitted a plan that will ensure strict

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adherence to national COVID-19 regulation and/or the BNSC guidelines,” Serufho said.

While the BNSC has slapped the BAA with a ban, it might prove ineffective as the government has already announced a blanket suspension on sport activities involving more than two people.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced the night-time curfew, together with other restrictions, would continue until March 31, 2021.

The sport had resumed, particularly for non-contact codes, with athletics, in particular, intensifying competitions to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games which will be held in Tokyo from July 21 to August 8.

Only four athletes, Nijel Amos, Amantle Montsho, Christine Botlogetswe and Gaefele Moroko have qualified for the Olympics.

The BAA activities were meant to allow more athletes to book a place at the global showpiece.

Athletes have until June 29 to qualify for the multi-sport event, which was pushed from last year due to the coronavirus outbreak.



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