Commonwealth stars to set the National Stadium alight on Sunday
A galaxy of stars will illuminate the National stadium this Sunday in the Gaborone International Meet (GIM).
Fresh from their historic conquest in the just ended Commonwealth Games in Australia, Isaac Makwala will lead his team for another athletic exhibition before he jets off to Doha to begin his IAAF engagements.
Sports View Runners Club were dealt a big blow this week when athletes from Holland and Kenya announced their absence from the inaugural GIM race due to logistical issues.
Some athletes decide to pull-out after their financial requirements could not be met.
Another star who pulled out in the last minute is South Africa’s middle distance runner Caster Semenya who’ll be engaged in another meet in her home country.
However with the 2018 Commonwealth 4x400m men’s relay gold medalists, 4x400m womens’ bronze medalists, two 400m gold medalists and a silver medalist, there’d be enough stars to light up the aquarium track.
Except for Nijel Amos, team Botswana that hoisted the blue, black and white flag in Australia will compete this Sunday.
Amos who picked up an injury during the games is currently rehabilitating in the United States of America.
All eyes will be on ‘Bad Man’ -Makwala who seem to have hit his peak at the right time.
The Tutume native is expected to dominate the 400m event this season, with his eyes firmly on the IAA Diamond league.
Makwala will however compete in the 200m as he prepares to take on the best in the world in Doha., and begin the defense of a title he won last year.
All the other elite athletes including golden girl Amantle Montsho will compete in their respective events.
The local stars will face stiff competition from athletes from Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Zambia, Mauritius and South Africa who are expected to arrive in the country on Thursday.
Very little is known about some of the athletes who have confirmed, but Zimabwean athletes are known to dominate local athletics meets.
Fierce competition is expected as promising athletes would be looking to make names for themselves by beating Champions like Makwala and Montsho.
Athletes will compete in 100m , 200m, 400m, 800m men, 1500m women , 5000m men , 110m hurdles men, 100m hurdles women, 3000m steeplechase men, high jump men, long jump men and triple jump women.
Speaking to Voice Sport GIM General Manager Kitso Kemoeng said despite the early hiccups they are prepared and ready to deliver a dignified event.
He applauded Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) for their continued prevalence in the world of international competitions.
He said their event is based on the BAA ideals and strategic objectives.
The event which was moved from Saturday to avail the stadium for the BDF Day celebrations will see top 16 athletes in each category except in triple jump compete for top honors.
Kemoeng said they worked hand in hand with coaches who advised on schedules and level of fitness of most of the elite athletes.
“We are thankful for our elite athletes for confirming their participation. Other identified elite athletes could not avail themselves on what they perceive as noncompetitive financial packages that we offer,” said Kemoeng.
He further said an IAAF accredited electronic timing specialists from Zambia will be keeping an eye on the proceedings with assistance provided by accredited local BAA technical officials.
GIM was sponsored by Rolling Wheels, Khayalihle Guest House, Mascom, Pula Medical Aid, BAA, BNOC, BNSC, Exclusive and City Physio Clinic.
The first race will start at 10 am.
There’ll be lots of fun at the national stadium with performances from Dr Vom, Slizer and ATI.
With the spotlight clearly on them can the Commonwealth team put on another class act in front of a home crowd, or could the Zimbabweans pull a surprise and spoil the party?