Gaborone — Courage and determination has seen Botswana athletes win this year's CAA Southern Region Senior Championships in Mauritius over the weekend.
Botswana was crowned champions after winning 10 gold, six silver and three bronze medals courtesy of Leungo Scotch (400m), Tsaone Sebele (100m), Tshepiso Masalela (800m), Oratile Nowe (800m women) and Oarabile Babolayi (100m and 400m women's hurdles).
Kemorena Tisang also added two gold to the country's medals after winning the men's 110m and 400m hurdles. Tshwanelo Aabobe also grabbed two gold medals after outclassing other athletes in the triple and high jump while the men's and women's teams became champions in the 4x400m relays.
The six silver medals were won by Tlhompang Basele in the women's 400m, Boitumelo Masilo (800m), Tsaone Sebele (200m), Aobakwe Nkobela (high jump) and 4x100m women's and men's relay teams.
Leaname Maotoanong and Refilwe Murangi in the men's and women's 200m event as well as Zibani Ngozi of 400m won bronze medals.
In an interview, team coach, Chilume Ntshwarang was happy that they managed to win this year's championship despite some challenges they were faced.
"Communication was poor as we only learnt that we are competing the following day in the afternoon because the organisers did not send the time table. So athletes thought they would compete on July 6 and 7 (Saturday and Sunday).
However, we convened a short meeting to talk about the programme, but it was difficult because some athletes had not recovered from jetlag," he said.
On the competition, Ntshwarang said he was impressed with Kemorena's performance, saying he raced well and recorded a personal best time in both the 110m and 400m hurdles.
He added that the athlete was a bright prospect in the hurdle event. The coach also spoke highly of Nowe, who won the 800m, an event deemed as traditionally Botswana's forte.
He, however, said there was room for improvement as Nowe was still young, and that with enough support and focus she could reach greater heights.
On the relays, Ntshwarang said it would seem missing the World Relays would continue to haunt Botswana given the limited number of competitions for local athletes.
He argued that other top athletes from different federations were now based in Europe for their individual preparations.
Strong African teams, he said, had already qualified for the World relays, hence they were not in any pressure to compete in the continent.
"One of the reasons why many countries send their teams to the annual relay competition is to give athletes enough time to prepare individually. Imagine having to disrupt Nijel Amos and Baboloki Thebe's season by asking them to come and help the team to qualify, and yet we expect them to bring silverware in Doha, it can be strenuous," he said.
Source : BOPA