BAA regress on female Olympians

Tough time: Jele did not qualify for this year’s Olympics PIC: MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO
Tough time: Jele did not qualify for this year’s Olympics PIC: MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has regressed in its efforts to have more women qualify for the Olympic Games.

At the 2020 Olympics held in 2021 due to COVID effects, Botswana had three female athletes but none have qualified for this year's edition which starts in Paris next month. The last local opportunity for the athletes to qualify was passed over the weekend during the BAA Track and Field series at the National Stadium. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Botswana had Amantle Montsho, Galefele Moroko, and Christine Botlogetswe. The BAA vice president-administration, Oabona Theetso, told MmegiSport that the issue of women's qualifications is complex. “In the last Olympics, we had three women who had qualified by right. Today, as we speak no woman has qualified by right, only Oratile Nowe stands a chance to qualify by rankings. When compared to the last Olympics, we have regressed by two athletes,” he said.

Theetso said all stakeholders that deal with the girl-child need to find solutions to the problem because it does not affect the BAA alone. “If we have Lydia Jele who at one point was running 50 seconds, Moroko with a personal best (PB) of 51 seconds but now struggling to clock the same time, what is the problem? If we have Tsaone Sebele who for the longest time was running 11 seconds why is not able to run 10 seconds? We should all be concerned,” he said. Theetso said they are worried about the performance of women. He said it is the same challenge they face with the 4x400m mixed relay team, where the boys are doing well but in some instances, the girls do not come to the party, which affects the overall performance of the team. Women and Sport Botswana (WASBO) secretary-general, Olebogeng Oitebetse, said many factors contribute to women athletes’ failure to qualify for the Olympics. “Women, generally score high on being motivated by the satisfaction and competence derived from learning new skills and improving their performance. Males may be more ego-orientated and motivated by competitiveness and winning,” she said.

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