- Ahead of Paris 24 Olympics

The athlete’s development in local sports has been giving administrators a torrid time to guarantee future success prospects. It has been over a decade and the nation still awaits the Zebras to once again qualify for the finals of the African football showpiece with the association struggling to produce talents that could deliver the nations’ wishes.

For Botswana Athletics, the biggest question still remains, who will take the success baton over from Amantle Montsho, Isaac Makwala and Nijel Amos?

In recent times, there has been positive glimpses to suggest that the above question could find answers in the near future, with the Paris 2024 Olympics set to be a proper litmus test.

Several candidates have put up their hands as a signal of intent to possibly bring success and continue the success stories laid by the aforementioned national champions.

The world junior championships held in Kenya last year, saw amongst others, Letsile Tebogo, Anthony Pesela, Busang Collen Kebinatshipi, Boitshepiso Kelapile, Jayson Mandoze, Bayapo Ndori, just to mention a few, registering podium finishes and recording personal best (PB’s) times, an indication that Botswana could possibly remain a competitive powerhouse at least for another coming decade.

Upon team Botswana’s return from Mauritius earlier this week from the CAA Africa Senior Athletics Championships, where Botswana secured seven medals against a set target of eight medals, the team’s performance has been deemed satisfactory by the coaches.

BAA sent a youthful team to Mauritius CAA Senior Championships as they set their eyes on the Paris 2024 Olympics. The team amassed four gold, two silver and one bronze medals, with Letsile Tebogo 200m, Thalosang Tshireletso (long jump), mixed relay team and the men’s 4x400m relay team all winning gold medals. Tshireletso also brought home a silver medal from the triple jump whilst another silver came through Bayapo Ndori from the men’s 400m. Tshepiso Masalela won the the team’s only bronze medal in the men’s 800m. The teams’ overall performance marked an improvement from the 2018 Championships which were held in Nigerial when the team managed a total of three medals (2 gold and 1 silver).

“We always talk about giving youngsters exposure at international level, a window of opportunity came through Africa Senior Championships and we pounced at the opportunity to give our athletes to compete at the highest level. They did very well and I believe that their performances were good, although the conditions were not favourable due to rains, their times show that they registered good times and their progress is where we expect it to be,” Athletics Under 20 coach, Chilume 'Chippa' Ntshwarang shared.

He added that they are doing their best as coaches to work together to identify a pool of youngsters and nurture talents to promote development and produce top level athletes, he however cited that, without school sport, their task is far more challenging.

“It was not that difficult to identify talents when there was school sport, we had a pool to choose from,” he highlighted.

Ntshwarang further called for support to their athletes and emphasized that the success of the team at the Paris 2024 Olympics starts with the preparations now.

“The most important thing for these athletes is support; it could come through financial means or social support which entails psychological aspect, health aspect, fitness tests and their diets. As local coaches, we are concerned with the way our athletes are handled; we only care for them ahead of competitions, which is wrong. It has shown that these athletes can produce more, they have been able to deliver under difficult circumstances and that shows they can do more with better support system,” he said.