Chief Executive Officers of Botswana National Sports Commission ( BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Falcon Sedimo and Tuelo Serufho respectively have said their federations are working together to forge viable ways in which they can assist athletes to transit into new careers after retirement from sport.
The duo shared the sentiments during a panel discussion on the sidelines of a public lecture hosted by the University of Botswana Sport academic and scholar in the Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation Dr Tshepang Tshube. The lecture was held under the topic “Elite Athletes Career Path: A Holistic Perspective to Athlete Development and Retirement Transition”. It was drawn from a research study conducted by Dr Tshube, focusing on Olympians career development from initial contact to retirement from sport and it was carried out in SADC region in countries such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Sedimo noted that in numerous circumstances local athletes find it difficult to survive and transit into a new career path upon retirement from sport. He indicated that therefore as a result, the BNSC has programs and initiatives that are intended to empower and help them (athletes) to live better life after retirement from sport either voluntarily or involuntarily as it is the case behind one taking break from sport. “We have formulated policies that aim at helping athletes to live a positive life after retiring from athletics. Such include the Athletes Incentive Policy and it includes allowances and appearance fees which are intended to motivate athletes. However, we expect the athletes to invest for future on what they reap from such incentives," said Sedimo.
He further said BNSC has in place the Elite Scholarship Fund in which the athletes have an opportunity to enroll into, adding that the local 400 meter star and champion Amantle Montsho was granted the fund to study at her own institution of choice although she has not yet taken the offer. Sedimo is of the view that the current policies should be reviewed and strengthened because they can play an influential role in sport development and also remains a need to establish high performance centers, as gone are the days to take chances in sport development.
Tuelo Serufho, the BNOC Chief noted that development of well-rounded athletes is key in ensuring that they are able to continue sustaining themselves outside sport career. He noted that as BNOC they are keen on pursuing athletes to develop coaching careers after retirement through the long term coaches’ development framework in order for them to upskill the coaching to align with the modern day athletes and coaching environment.
He also hinted that the long term athlete development framework calls and encourages the young athletes who are in school to forge better strategies to balance both school and athletics. “Our future master plan is to continue working closely with the BNSC in the effective implementation of programs that can help our athletes to cope better in future endeavors after retirement from sport. We are also proposing that we can source a certain sum of money from our athletes when they get paid from the competitions such as Olympics or diamond league and invest for them so that when they retire they find something in their coffers, as this thinking still lacks upon most of our athletes in the moment”,said Serufho.
For his part former Olympian and national team boxer Lechedzani Master Ludza urged the BNOC and BNSC to introduce the retirement packages for the athletes who diligently represented and served the nation. He also said it is important for the two stakeholders to ensure that training sport programs offered to athletes are accredited with Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA). He said this could make the athletes to be also competitive when looking for jobs in the sport administration after their retirement. He also encouraged sport federations to partner with institutions such as University of Botswana for the better shaping of young athletes based on the facilities and resources available at the university.