GABORONE, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — The Botswana national athletics team is preparing for a busy calendar in 2021 after going through the year with very few competitions due to travel restrictions brought about by COVID-19.

National team coach Kebonyemodisa Mosimanyane told the media on Friday that they are gearing up for competitions this year with priority on Tokyo 2020, which was postponed after the coronavirus outbreak in 2019 brought a halt to sport activities worldwide.

Mosimanyane said the country aims to qualify more athletes for the Olympics as currently only four athletes have earned berths. Three of them are women’s 400m runners, namely reigning African champion Galefele Moroko, veteran Amantle Montsho and and Christine Botlogetswe.

The other ticket belongs to 2012 Olympics men’s 800m silver medallist Nigel Amos.

First on the calendar will be the Gaborone International Meet (GIM) in April. The local event has recently been accredited by World Athletics and can be used as a qualifier for major events. Soon after there will be the Africa Senior Championship that will be followed by the World Athletics Relays in Poland in May before the Olympics start in July, said Mosimanyane.

Mosimanyane expressed confidence that the 400m relay teams, both men’s and women’s, will soon qualify for the Olympics as they are nearing top form and recording good times.

Another qualification hopeful is men’s 400m runner Isaac Makwala who won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Despite having done consistently well especially in 400m, Botswana’s sole Olympic medal came from the 800m event in 2012 and Mosimanyane said he is hopeful the team will bring silverware from Tokyo.