Unlicensed starting gun costs relay team Olympic slot

The quartet of Thapelo Monaiwa, Mothusi Boitshwarelo, Tumo Van Wyk and Letsile Tebogo. PIC BAA
The quartet of Thapelo Monaiwa, Mothusi Boitshwarelo, Tumo Van Wyk and Letsile Tebogo. PIC BAA

The Botswana men’s 4x100m relay team has not qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games due to using an unlicensed starting gun at the African Senior Championships held in Douala, Cameroon.

This would mean the Netherlands, currently ranked number 16, will compete in Paris. However, the participation of the Netherlands will be confirmed by the standard of World Athletics qualifying procedures. Botswana clocked 38.19 during the African Senior Championships heats but World Athletics has not ratified the time. The team comprised Thapelo Monaiwa, Mothusi Boitshwarelo, Tumo van Wyk, and Letsile Tebogo. Senior team coach, Justice Dipeba told Mmegi Online that it is a sad moment for athletics. “In this era, at this level and we are still using hand times? Even here in Botswana, at local series, if there is no electronic timing, our athletes will not take part because they know that hand times will not take you anywhere. We all knew the importance of these Championships. It was a last chance meet for African athletes to qualify for the Olympics,” said the disappointed Dipeba.

He said everything was supposed to be done right but it was not the case. Dipeba added that the Championships were extremely disorganised. Meanwhile, 800m runners, Tumo Nkape and Oratile Nowe have punched their tickets to Paris through World rankings. Nkape is ranked number 39 while Nowe, who is at number 40, joins Tshepiso Masalele and Kethobogile Haingura, who will also be running the two laps at the Olympics. For the first time, Botswana will send one discipline, athletics to the Olympics after other sporting codes boxing, taekwondo, taekwondo, weightlifting, beach volleyball, swimming, and football The Mares failed to make the cut. The Olympic qualification period for athletics started on July 1 last year and ended on June 30. Botswana Athletics Association will also send Letsile Tebogo, Leungo Scotch, Collen Kebinatshipi, Bayapo Ndori, and the men’s 4x400m relay team.

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