… Federation calls for sponsors
Botswana Taekwondo Federation technical director Gladys Njoroge is adamant that even with the challenges of funds they are facing, the sporting code will continue to grow to greater heights. The federation, which is without a sponsor, is currently preparing a team that will represent the country at the coming All Africa Games in September.
Njoroge said even though the sporting code is newly registered with Botswana National Sport Council (BNSC) Batswana are already showing the love for it. “We registered with BNSC last year and already the reception is overwhelming,” said the technical director.
She explained that they got a major boost from the 2nd Africa Youth Games that were held in Botswana last year. “Even though the code has been in existence since 1991, we saw a major turnout of people coming to play taekwondo after last year’s Africa Youth Games,” she said.
All this time Botswana Taekwondo Federation ran without any sponsors and was relying on committee members and the parents to fund the players to attend games. Njoroge said for the sport code to grow further they would require financial support from individuals as well as private companies. She called sponsors to come on board and help grow the sport.
As the federation will now start getting financial assistance from BNSC, the technical director believes that the sporting code will continue to grow even further. Apparently the parents and committee members have been the ones sponsoring the players. With this development Njoroge said the parents will be relieved and the players can now attend more international activities. “This will help the players get exposure and the much needed experience to grow professional,” said Njoroge. She added that the sponsorship will also go a long way to motivate the athletes as they would now be offered allowances whenever they go to competitions.
The director, who is also the head coach, acknowledged the importance of developing talent at a young age. She revealed that funding will help a lot in this regard. At the moment they are currently looking at developing players at a young age. The federation has since engaged schools in Gaborone to start taekwondo clubs.
They, however, do not have any connection with Botswana Integrated Sport Association (BISA), which is the organisation responsible for running all competitions in primary schools. Njoroge said this is due to shortage of manpower in their federation. “For us to be a member of BISA we need to have representation at all regions which we do not have at the moment,” explained the technical director.
Presently Botswana Taekwondo Association has only four officially registered teams and they are mainly in Gaborone. However, Njoroge said BTF is working on establishing a relationship with BISA as soon as possible to grow the sport at grassroots level. “It is important to have partnerships with other associations to develop sport locally and working with BISA will help us a lot,” she explained.