Gaborone — National paralympics athletics team head coach, Katlego Maotwe, says a sterling performance at the recent Toyota National Championships in South Africa is a signal that the team is ready for the Paralympic Games.
Maotwe is hopeful that more athletes will qualify for the Paralympics.
To date, Maotwe said the trio of Gloria Majaga, Bose Mokgwathi and Edwin Masuge had qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
He said as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the team missed a Dubai invitation in February and Tunisia in March.
He said the events could have benefited more athletes.
The two-day SA athletics event was held on April 26-27 where Botswana won two gold medals, three silver and a bronze.
Maotwe said the games were used to prepare the team for the Paralympics slated for September 2021.
He was optimistic that the athletes would improve and do even much better at the Paralympics.
Despite shortcomings brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, hampering preparatory competitions locally and regionally over a year, Maotwe said the athletes had shown an element of maturity.
He said 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.
Mautwe said all the athletes managed to register a medal each, adding that this was a sign of readiness for future competitions.
The team, he said, last took part in a competitive event in 2019.
"We are busy working on rebuilding their fitness levels and readiness to compete at the highest levels," said Maotwe.
He further appreciated efforts being made by Botswana National Olympics Committee to source international invitations for the athletes.
For his part, Mokgwathi said the PE Championships had gauged their peorfromance against other competitive athletes.
"We used the event to assess our readiness for the Paralympics," said Mokgwathi.
He said engaging more in international competitions would make a positive impact in the preparations.
Mokgwathi called for support from the business sector through sponsorship that would assist more pralympic athletes to qualify for the Paralympics.
He also urged Batswana to boost athletes' morale by supporting their efforts.
The team was in camp to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Source : BOPA