The April 2016 date which was set for the ground breaking ceremony of Botswana Athletics Association’s envisaged High Performance Centre has passed with no activity. And now BAA faces a barrage of questions for the unfulfilled promise. Contacted on the matter BAA president Moses Bantsi said the P300m project is still on the cards despite missing the ground breaking date. Bantsi said though there have been delays on the part of financiers, they still expect to have the centre set up. “We have found some people to help up build this centre and they have committed to helping us. They have already committed in writing, however they are still having some issues to iron before everything can commence,” said Bantsi. The financers were expected to come to Botswana on May 15, 2016 to dialogue with BAA but they got held up. He, however, said he believes that they will be in the country in the first week of June.
Despite the delay Bantsi remains hopeful that the multi-million pula high performance centre will be built. “I am hopeful that something will come up soon. I can say before the end of this year we will be speaking something tangible,” he maintained. According to Bantsi, they are awaiting the financers to come so that they discuss the way forward after missing the set date for ground breaking. The high performance centre is long overdue in Botswana as the country continues to produce great athletes who would benefit from it. Local athletes have shown great potential in 400m and 800m which saw some of them sent to high performance centres in other countries to training. With a similar structure in Botswana, Bantsi said the country would be able to produce more top athletes. “It is important to have the high performance centre because not only will the athletes benefit but also the technical staff,” he said.
The centre is expected to be a fully-fledged training facility that includes world class track race, indoor sporting arena, administration offices, swimming pool, and Conference centre as well as athletes accommodation. The centre will help the country save a lot of money that it has been using to send athletes to South Africa and Senegal. It will also help in addressing the shortage of proper facilities in Botswana. Just recently Botswana athletics team going for Olympics was sent to South Africa for training a high performance centre. Their coach justice Dipeba said Botswana also needs such a facility. Dipeba said it is good for athletes to be in a controlled environment to get better results. “At a high performance athletes can be monitored better and there is a better chance of producing quality athletes,” said Dipeba.