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Who failed relay teams?

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Members of Botswana relay teams will be watching the  IAAF World Relays from their couches at home due to an administrative lapse.
The athletes were scheduled to leave yesterday for  Japan for tomorrow’s competition, but did not do so because funds to purchase air tickets were not released. 
Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development permanent secretary, Kago Ramokate, said in an interview that Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA)  had promised him that they would do everything in their power to ensure that the team travelled to Yokohama.
Both parties, he said, had agreed that all the necessary arrangement would be made, adding that challenges experienced were not brought to his attention.
“As I am sitting here, nobody told me that the relay teams won’t travel to Yokohama,” he said.
According to Ramokate, he would find out from both parties as to why the team did not manage to go and compete at such an important competition.
BAA vice president, Kenneth Kikwe alleged that BNSC did not release funds for the team to travel.
Last year, he said, BAA was charged P156 000 by IAAF for not honouring the competition because it had confirmed attendance. The association, he said,  approached BNSC about the world relays when the trip to attend a competition in Abidjan failed. 
He said BAA submitted its budget to BNSC to faciliate the release of funds.
“To be honest, as BAA, our intention was to call the trip off and release our athletes from camp because we could sense that BNSC was reluctant to help as they did with Finland and Abidjan trips, but we were hopeful after meeting with the permanent secretary,” he said.
Also, he said BAA met with with the Japanese Ambassador, Kozo Takeda, who was willing to assist athletes with visas though it was late.  He said all their efforts were in vain since BNSC did not release funds for the air tickets.
That, he said, had dampened the athletes and coaches’ spirit. “At the moment, BNSC is yet to give us reasons as to why they failed to release funds. But last week, BNSC was saying they could not help us because they wanted a compliance letter from the Registrar of Societies and we gave them the 2018 letter, which showed that our returns were up to date, but still they could not budge,” he said.
He said the world relays were the IAAF World Championships qualifiers adding that it might be difficult for the athletes to attend other competitions to meet the qualifying standards. 
He said athletes would now have to focus on qualifying  for the world championships individual races.  “For our athletes to qualify for the world champiosnhips, we need to finish on top 10 in the world, which according to me, was possible. This therefore means we have to compete in other races and be able to finish on top six,” he said.
For his part, Nijel Amos, who traveled from his base in the United States to join other athletes in camp, said the latest development had affected his plan.  
“It means I have missed a week of training for nothing. And remember my focus is the World Championships and I have to start preparations now,” he said.
He said their failed trip should be a wake-up call to all stakeholders to do all things in the right manner.  World relays, he said, was a big competition, which should not be missed.
Botswana, he said had a strong team and people were looking forward to the 4x400m men team,  which had been a threat to other nations. 
“Everyone need to respect that and respect the hard work and sacrifices we make to represent our beautiful country. This automatically means we cannot qualify for the World Champs and we have to find other races in Europe,” he said.  
Effortsa to contact BNSC were fruitless by the time of going to press.
Team Botswana was made up of Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Lee Eppie, Zibani Ngozi, Boitumelo Masilo, Onkabetse Nkobolo, Onneile Phokedi and Leungo Scotch in the 4x400m men’s category. 
The 4x100m team was made up of Thabiso Sekgopi, Thuto Masasa, Karabo Mothibi and Keene Motukisi while Amos, Oarabile Babolayi, Christine Botlogetswe, Loungo Matlhaku, Masilo, Nkobolo and Thebe were part of the mixed relay. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Anastacia Sibanda

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interveiw

Date : May 09 Thu,2019


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