Gaborone — Botswana National Paralympics athletics team head coach, Katlego Maotwe says a sterling performance by the athletes at the recent 2021 Toyota National Championships held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was a signal that the team is ready for the up coming Tokyo 2020 Paralympics slated for September.
Maotwe is hopeful that more athletes will qualify for the Paralympics. To date, Maotwe says the trio of Gloria Majaga, Bose Mokgwathi and Edwin Masuge have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
He says as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the team missed the Dubai invitation in February and Tunisia in March respectively. He says the events could have benefited more athletes qualify for the Paralympics.
The two-day athletics event was held on April 26-27, where the local team managed two gold, three silver and a bronze.
Despite the sterling performance, Maotwe is still optimistic that the athletes will improve and do even much better in Tokyo.
Despite shortcomings brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, hampering preparatory competitions locally and regionally over a year prior to the Port Elizabeth championships, Maotwe says the athletes have shown an element of maturity and therefore competed fairly.
Team Botswana participated in the 400m T13 represented by Stanley Matutu, Gloria Majaga and Bose Mokgwathi, while 400m T12 fielded Edwin Masuge and Keatlaretse Mabote and Tshediso Mogweng in the 100m T12 sprint.
Maotwe says all the athletes amanaged to register a medal each, a sign of readiness for future competitions.
Maotwe says the team last took part in a competitive event in 2019, which, affected the athletse fitness. "We are busy working on rebuilding their fitness levels and readiness to compete at the highest levels," says Maotwe.
He further appreciated efforts being made by Botswana National Olympics to source international invitations for the athletes.
For his part, 400m T13 runner, Mokgwathi says the PE Championships have gauged their peorfromance against other competitive athletes. "We used the event to assess our readiness for the Paralympics," says Mokgwathi.
He says engaging more in international competitions will make a positive impact in the preparations to compete at higher platforms.
The Team is currently in camp and it is said will be on another camp preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Source : BOPA