14 March 2019

Botswana: Coach Decries High Qualification Standards

Gaborone — Botswana athletics national team coach, Justice Dipeba has decried the high qualifying standards for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that were recently approved by IAAF.

Dipeba said in an interview that the standards were very tough to attain adding that many athletes would not qualify as a result of the new set times.

"In 2016, Karabo Sibanda, Boitumelo Masilo and Christine Botlogetswe might not have made it to the Olympics, if the new rules were introduced then. The points system could have also worked against them as they had few qualifying competitions, where they were able to meet the standards," he said

Also, he pointed out that the points system would work against many athletes as there were few competitions in Africa.

Athletes, he said would have to go to Europe for IAAF-recognised competitions.

But that he said would be difficult as it was expensive to go there. "We are not going to see exciting and surprise packages like we always do during the games.

Sibanda went to the Olympics as a surprise package after meeting the minimun qualification standard," Dipeba said.

Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho said the organisation had been made aware of the new qualification standards set by IAAF.

He said BNOC would do eveyrthing possible to ensure that many athletes attain the set standards.

Serufho said their intension was to have many competitions locally to ensure that there was a pool of athletes to choose from, if there were any eventualities.

In 2016, he said there were many athletes, who reached the qualification times than the slots they had.

"Rather, such will motivate our athletes to work harder, knowing that mere qualification does not guarantee them a place in the team.

We want our athletes to qualify as early as possible this year so that we do not risk injuries and to minimise the costs," he said.

Meanwhile, according to IAAF, in the 400m male category, athletes will have to clock 44.90, while the set time for women in the same category is 51.35.

The qualifying time in the 800m men category is 1:45.20 while for women is 1:59.50.

For 100m men and women categories, qualifying times are 10.05 and 11.15 respectively.

Under the new qualification process, an athlete can qualify for the 2020 Olympics in one of the two ways; either by achieving the entry standard within the respective qualification period, or qualifying by virtue of their IAAF World Ranking position in the selected event at the end of the respective qualification period.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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