Ebudilwe’s hopes of qualifying for Olympics dented
Botswana’s hopes of sending the first ever cycling athlete to the Olympics Games have been dealt a heavy blow following a decision by International Olympic Committee (IOC) to revoke the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship for local cyclist Matshediso Ebudilwe.
As the beneficiary under the watchful eyes of the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Ebudilwe’s scholarship was mostly based on improving her performance and helping in participating in various races to accumulate points and probably qualify for the 2020 Olympics which are slated for Tokyo in Japan.
However, the IOC has since withdrawn the scholarship citing that chances that Ebudilwe will qualify for the Olympics were very slim since she has not accumulated enough points to qualify.
Ebudilwe has been based in High Performance Centre, UCI in Zurich, Switzerland where she also had an opportunity to study sports science at the same time while training to perfect her cycling.
Nevertheless she has been actively involved in various races across the world in her quest to amass as much points as possible with her latest competition being the Mountain Bike Continental Championship in Namibia in April.
BNOC Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho has confirmed that Ebudilwe is no longer under the scholarship.
“These scholarships are awarded on quadrennial basis in order to give athletes a good build up in qualifying for Olympics. But it’s unfortunate that Ebudilwe is no longer under the scholarship because chances of her qualifying are slender mainly because she needs the support of other cyclists to qualify. But we don’t have any other cyclists who can compete in races and help her towards qualifying so IOC withdrew the scholarship based on that,” he said.
However Serufho said all is not lost as they believe the 21-year-old can still qualify for Tokyo 2020.
“We have so much faith in her because we have been monitoring her progress for the period she spent in Switzerland. And to us she has improved a lot throughout so we are currently in discussions with Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to make sure that for the 2019/20 budget which is normally given to Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) , the lions share should be dedicated towards helping Ebudilwe to qualify. We should continue where IOC left,” said Serufho.
When quizzed on why BNOC has not been able to help other cyclists to attend races and help Ebudilwe towards qualifying for Olympics, Serufho blamed lack of funds as the main hiccup. “After the last Olympics in Brazil we sat down and mapped the way forward in order to start preparations as early as possible. We requested an amount of P53millon from the government just for preparations for Tokyo but at this point in time we have received zero. That is why we have even resorted to fund raising initiatives like SMS donation campaign,” he said.