The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) has unveiled the 2016 award nominees for the awards that will take place in June. This year a new category has also been included to cater for athletes living with disabilities. Tshepo Kgatlwane and Keatlaretse Mabote are the two athletes that will be contending for the sportsperson of the year living with a disability. Kgatlwane is a gold medallist in 1000m and 1500m races nationally, silver medallist at world level in the 1500m race and bronze medallist at world level in the 800 x 100 relay. Mabote qualified for Rio 2016 Olympic Games in 400m as a National Paralympic Record holder and finalist at the All Africa Games in the event. On top of that Special Olympics has also been nominated with BOPSSA in the group code of the year category.
One category that is also interesting is that of sports man of the year that has the 400m champion Isaac Makwala – a national record holder, gold medallist all Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, 400m finalist at the World championships in China. He has already qualified for Rio 2016. He said he will just wait and see if he wins. He is currently in South Africa where he is taking part in a few races in preparation for Rio 2016. He is pitted against local karate champion Ofentse Bakwadi and Zibani Chakanda from boxing for the award. One of the finest women in sports Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego is nominated in the sports administrator of the year category for her immense contribution in netball and for holding high positions at an international level. She is against Rosyln Tebele and Tshenolo Maruatona.
BNSC chairperson Solly Reikeletseng said it was important for people to understand that National Sports Associations are the ones that submit names and then a team of adjudicators selects finalists in each category. “I am happy to inform you that the guidelines approved by the leadership have given them confidence and freedom to freely decide fairly the deserving candidates,” he said. The adjudication panel is chaired by Geoff Tembo, whom Reikeletseng thanked for the sterling job. Reikeletseng said they will continue to have the People’s Choice Awards where Batswana can vote for an athlete that they think deserves to be recognised. He said the Chairman’s award recipients will only be revealed on the day of the awards along with the sports person of the year. Other athletes and administrators nominated are the young 400m runner Galefele Moroko, swimmer Naomi Ruele, Naledi Marape from chess, karateka Khaya Groth, swimmer James Freeman, runner Karabo Sibanda, Lame Hetanang, Joshua Bondo and Mpho Bakwadi. Botswana Football Association has been nominated in the sports code of the year category alongside Botswana Cricket Association and Botswana Chess Federation.