Botswana's Gaseitsiwe and Montsho optimistic of African Championships glory in Nairobi

Submitted by ATAF Editor on 19 July 2010 - 5:11pm

Botswana's national athletics team coach Bobby Gaseitsiwe said they can improve on their feat at the previous Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa when the 17th edition kicks off at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on July 28.

Gaseitsiwe, who took his team of 16 athletes for their first training session on Thursday, told the LOC media the remaining 11 days meant a lot to their preparation as they aim to improve on their performance in Addis Ababa 2008 where they won three medals.

Botswana was the first country to arrive for the biennial championships on Tuesday. Some Malian athletes also arrived on Thursday.

Gaseitsiwe, a former 1,500m and 800m athlete told the LOC media: "We have a strong team of 16 athletes who will represent Botswana in the 200m, 400m, 800m, high jump and both men and women 4x400m relays and our target is to improve on our performance in Addis Ababa two years ago when the bagged two gold medals and a bronze medal.

"We just started training today and I love this weather. It favours us because it is somehow similar to the weather back there in Gaborone even though we were experiencing winter some time back," he noted.

Reigning Africa Senior Championships 400m women champion Amantle Montsho is part of
the Botswana team so is Kabilo Kgosiemong, who won gold in the high jump competition
and 400m bronze medallist Isaac Makwala.

"Amantle, Kgosiemong and Makwala are is still top medal prospects at the championships and we also have new revelations who will be witnessed during the championships. However, we plan to have most of our athletes into the finals first before we start thinking of medals," he said.

The reigning 400m women champion Montsho said she was optimistic of defending her title on Kenyan soil and said she would use the remaining time to polish her finishing kick.

"Two years ago I clocked 49:89 to win gold in Addis Ababa, but my personal best this season is 50:37. I am currently working on my finishing kick and I'm sure by the time the championship begins on July 28 I will be in top condition," she said.

Coach Gaseitsiwe partially threw in the towel in the 800m campaign and tipped hosts Kenya to carry the day in the race.

"I know we have very slim chances in the 800m race because Kenya have very good athletes so is Sudan, but we have very a good chance in the 200m, 400m, high jumps and 400x400m relay competitions," Gaseitsiwe said.

Meanwhile, three Mali athletes arrived last afternoon with the rest of the contingent expected in the country tomorrow. Long jump bronze medallist Yah Koita who won the medal in Addis Ababa two years ago led the Malian's.

The others are Cheussa Diarra (shot put) and Moctan Djigui (Pole Vault).