Day of Reckoning for Long Distance Runners

| January 22, 2015

The Saturday national cross country final in Gaborone is one not to miss.

Gaborone Technical College open space will be the battle field for Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) challenge, which will pull together athletes who participated in at least two thirds of the cross country series. New faces have emerged this season with Sesebo Matlapeng at the top of the list having toppled giants in the 12km senior men category.

One of the highlights of the qualifying series was when young Matlapeng tussled with the defending champion, Kaelo Mosalagae at the finish line a fortnight ago. Matlapeng crossed the line ahead of the bare-footed Mosalagae.

Tough competition is expected in the senior men category, which would have experienced and familiar faces in the likes of Rapula Diphoko, Shephered Kenatshele, Kelebonye Sembowa, Amantle Kekganetswe and Onkarabile Swimbo.

The eight kilometre senior women race is unpredictable this year, with former champion Onneile Dintwe making a comeback after missing in action for some years due to an injury.

Young athletes such as defending champion, Mema Tiango and Gaone Bathoeng are expected to give old faces a run for their money as they have of recent shown exuberance tussling with experienced runners.

Junior women will compete in the six-kilometre race whereas junior men will run the eight kilometre race. The junior races will pit together athletes from junior secondary and senior secondary schools across the country.

In an interview, BAA spokesperson, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba stated that over 100 athletes will compete including those who did not partake in the qualifier series. Those who did not run in the qualifiers would be running for fun.

He said spectators should expect fireworks as competition was tough during the qualifiers. Ramatshaba said excelling athletes will be selected to represent Botswana at the Southern Africa cross country championships billed for Malawi in March.

Selection, he said, will be based on the times clocked by athletes as competition gets tougher at zonal stage. However, the spokesperson stated that the event will be without a sponsor. “BAA failed to secure sponsorship and we will award athletes some prize money which we can not disclose at the moment,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

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