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BAA Switches To Plan B As Snr Champs Are Cancelled

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Botswana athletes will not be running at the Africa Senior Championships this year after it was cancelled
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a negative effect on athletics championships, with the latest blow being the cancellation of the Africa Senior Championships.

The event was scheduled to be held in Lagos, Nigeria from June 23 to 28. According to a letter written by Nigeria Minister of Sport, Sunday Dare, the government had raised health concerns over the hosting of the African Championships in Lagos, because of the emerging COVID-19 infection data in the country.

“The chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has informed me that Nigeria is not in a position to host an international championship of this magnitude, because of the health challenges that may be associated with athletes coming from many countries into Lagos.

This is in view of the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in certain countries coupled with widespread prevalence of mutant strains of the virus outside Nigeria, which poses the risk of importation of these mutant strains,” the letter reads in part. Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) was

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planning to send a team to the championships in order to continue fighting to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

 BAA vice president, Oabona Theetso, told The Monitor Sport that the cancellation will affect their preparations a lot. “The championships were a qualifier for the Olympics.

We have plan B, because this coming weekend we are hosting an event at the National Stadium. We have invited athletes from other countries. Zambia has already confirmed their participation and we expect others to confirm during the week,” he said. Meanwhile, Theetso said they also have another event lined up for June 19 to assist more athletes to qualify.

He said the challenge is that the Olympics qualification deadline is getting closer (June 29). He said the plan is for the athletes to take advantage of the local championships to qualify.



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