Despite heightened speculation that former 400m world champion, Amantle Montsho will hang up her spikes this year, the athlete is still going strong after being picked for the 2019 African Games slated for Morocco later this month.
Her coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe admitted that Montsho kicked off her season late.
“She is working hard and at the moment she has endurance and strength. We just have to push her speed,” he said.
Otsetswe said Montsho is not retiring and the plan is to work with her until the 2020 Olympic Games.
The first focus is on the African Games in Rabat, and Otsetswe said preparations are going on well. Botswana will send 27 athletes to the continental competition.
“We are in camp and the important thing is to take athletes to a level that they can compete against other Africans in Morocco. We have set ourselves a target of two gold medals, the rest would be a bonus,” he said.
He said senior athletes are expected to motivate juniors. Otsetswe said Baboloki Thebe and Isaac Makwala, who are currently in Europe, will join the team in Rabat. In all, Team Botswana will have 103 athletes and 37 officials drawn from 11 sporting codes.
Denzel Seetso, Mark Nawa, Tshegofatso Tsiang and Ekua Refilwe Youri are the tennis players who will represent the country. Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) vice president, Oaitse Thipe said the players are training at various locations, with Seetso in Germany while Youri and Tsiane played in Harare last week. Nawa is in Gaborone.
“For the tennis team, it is a longer term target. We want them to qualify for the Youth Olympics 2022. For African Games it is all about exposure. Tsiane stand a chance of doing well because she reached the finals in Pretoria recently of both singles and doubles,” said Thipe.
Judo representative, Kgosipula Kaupa said they have a team of eight judokas (five men and three women) travelling to Morocco. The men’s team is made up of Thato Lebang, Tirelo Lekoko, Edwin Sello, Letlhogile Tsheko and Gwafila Tema.
Happy Taukobong, Victoria Leagajang and Lucky Mabaka make the women’s team. Gavin Mogopa is excluded from the team.
“Gavin’s coach has advised us that he has a busy schedule because he is preparing for Tokyo 2020. He has just competed in a championship in Croatia and immediately after the African Games, he would compete in the World championship in Japan,” he said.
Kaupa added that the team has been working together since last year with two coaches. Other codes that will participate are boxing, chess, cycling, karate, swimming, taekwando, weightlifting and volleyball.