World Athletics in town to assess Meet
World Athletics officials will land in Botswana this Friday on a three-day visit to the capital city, where they will assess the just ended Gaborone International Meet (GIM).
The delegation will meet with the Local Organising Committee, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development and other relevant stakeholders.
Chief amongst the discussions will be GIM’s desire to upgrade from its current ‘bronze status’, skipping silver and going straight to gold.
At the moment, the meet is one of just five events in Africa, and the only one in Southern Africa, to achieve a bronze classification; however, founder Glody Dube and co want gold!
This is the penultimate step on the path to the very top of world athletics, the prestigious Diamond League Series. To date, Morocco’s capital, Rabat, is the only African city to attain such heady distinction.
Speaking to Voice Sport this week, 43-year-old Dube confirmed they have already applied for a golden graduation.
“We have asked for an upgrade but they can’t promote us without assessment. That’s why they are coming here to assess us, tour the facilities which we have been using,” explained the former 800m runner, who became the first local athlete to make an Olympic Final back at Sydney 2000.
Outlining exactly what such a grading will do for GIM’s prospects, Dube added, “Gold status is a top level where now World Athletics puts money into the meet, so they can’t just give us the status on a silver platter. For us, we have done our part and we can’t afford to lose this chance because it will take many years to apply again but so far so good.”
Echoing this nervous confidence, GIM spokesperson, Calistus Kolantsho told Voice Sport they were cautiously optimistic about their chances.
“The meet is growing and has attracted World Athletics attention. There are things which they wish we can have, which include a warm-up track with the same facilities as the main venue. Equipment, such as concentration machines; we need them when we host these kind of meets, so these are the things which we have taken to World Athletics,” said Kolantsho, adding broadcasting issues would also be discussed.
“To see whether we continue with Botswana Television or get new partners from other countries to help us beam the meet live. Also they are to give us a report on what they expect from us and how they can help us,” he continued.
In terms of winnings, the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Level Meetings offer two levels of prize money per discipline: either US$15,000 (P181,000) or US$10, 000 (P120, 000).
“This is a visit in which government should also commit themselves on the role they will play in the meet. In the past editions they have sponsored us greatly so now it’s time to communicate that with the custodians of athletics,” concluded Kolantsho.
REQUIREMENTS FOR GOLD STATUS
*Stadium with a minimum capacity for 5, 000 spectators
*Ability to fill at least 60 percent of the venue
*Track with at least 8 lanes
*Minimum of class 2 for track certification
*Equipment certified by World Athletics
*Fully automatic timing obtained from a photo finish system