Gaborone — Hurdles event has been missing in Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) for some time.
Even during the BAA championships held over the weekend it was not in the programme and the association's vice president administration, Oabona Theetso said the fact that they were not fielding hurdlers was a drawback more so that they were rallying behind qualifying athletes for Tokyo 2020 with better numbers.
He noted that during their efforts to help athletes qualify for Tokyo 2020, hurdles athletes were not included, further stating that alone had impacted negatively on athletes.
Theetso noted that since they were 60 per cent in preparation for Tokyo 2020, it would be difficult for any athletes to qualify for the Olympics.
Despite financial constraints, he urged sport administrators to develop love for all sporting codes, noting that despite hurdles not doing well in international standards they deserved a space in Botswana sport.
He called on Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to assist on the matter. He advocated for a financial backup to get the hurdles team to keep up and train as well as honouring international competitions.
He said lack of training for hurdles has major setbacks on athlete's growth, noting that the more athletes failed to participate, they would lose hope in their sporting career.
Theetso said regardless of factors affecting hurdles, BAA was up to help the hurdlers to have active participation.
He said as the association, they advocated that the yearly finances be at least accounted to the association so that proper budgeting could be done to cater to all the athletes.
BNOC vice president, Tshepo Sitale said an athlete's qualifications mandate was upon BAA while BNOC was responsible for preparing athletes for competitions.
He noted that despite COVID-19 negative impact on sports, the qualifying national teams had laid their financial budget and government had aided accordingly to help associations prepare athletes and players for competitions.
"Competitions is for everyone as much as the athlete's personal best times are linked to qualifying times set by World Athletics," Sitale said.
He encouraged BAA to involve the hurdles in their track events to help athletes qualify for the international competitions, further noting that they were aware of financial constraints affecting sports as a result of COVID-19 but athletes needed to be engaged.
He further noted that development aspects were for BAA to take care of either upcoming or well-established athletes, further indicating that showed the need to consider training athletes and participating in the hurdles events internationally.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>