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BNOC taken off Olympics funds

SHARE   |   Monday, 25 November 2019   |   By Baitshepi Sekgweng
BNOC Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho BNOC Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho

Ahead of the  Tokyo  2020  Olympics games slated   for Japan, signs    of    discord  are already  visible  in the   local  sporting  fraternity   with  Botswana  National  Olympics  Committee(BNOC) no longer in charge  of   the  funds  for  the  games- however  the organization as the sole custodian of Olympics games in Botswana will   remain  in picture   providing  technical advice and assistance. To date   associations like Botswana Athletics have already shown their displeasure in   the media accusing   BNOC of not supporting them in the preparations towards the Olympics. However  BNOC are  not at fault  since  their  hands  are tied  and  does not have the financial  might   to  help   federations.

Speaking in a press briefing to  update  the media  on the  progress  of the  preparations  on Thursday  BNOC  Chief Executive officer Tuelo Serufho said it  was  very  critical  for the preparations to step up – however   he   noted   few  changes  which  he shared that have  caused   some hiccups. “To date  the funding  for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games  has not  been availed   to the BNOC, the money  has been   given  to Botswana National Sports Commission(BNSC)  to disperse  to national   federations   for them  to implement  programmes  towards   athlete  preparations  to  qualify  for the games. This has created problems, to have a smooth   coordinated implementation of training programme for the athletes,” explained Serufho.

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In the previous   arrangement   money for preparations   was normally    disbursed    to the BNOC who in turn   made plan of the preparations. However as it stands  an amount  of P15 million    is reported  to  have  been  credited  to  the BNSC  by   the Ministry   of  Sports – however   the  amount  is  less   than  the  P40 million  which the BNOC   budgeted  for the games. Mid 2019  Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) was  given  close  to P1 million  prior   to the Africa Games  which was used  in training  camps and friendly  tournaments  in Zambia, Thailand and France as part of their Tokyo Olympics preparations. However as of now it is not known how much Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has received   from BNSC. Though   things  remain  a  little  bit  cagey  it seems like  the current  arrangement   has  put the two  organizations (BNOC and BNSC) at loggerheads   as it was the case  early this year   when  for the  first time  the  two  entities worked together   towards  the preparations  of Africa Games.

Though  Serufho  maintains that it is imperative   for Botswana  to  do everything in its power  to make sure   that it  qualifies as many athletes as possible and win medals at the  competition they   have since  reduced  the targets  they  set  early  on. Early from the start of the quadrennial   cycle, BNOC set a medal target of four for the Olympics as well as   qualifying 15 athletes’ altogether. But as of now with   qualification closed for some of sporting codes like cycling, football the dream remains impossible. As of now only three athletes from athletes, being Galefele Moroko, Nijel Amos and Christine Botlogetswe have booked some spots at the games.

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“Qualification deadlines for some sports have since elapsed and those of a few more are drawing closer. To date with have only three athlete who have qualified and   they are receiving support from Olympic Solidarity through BNOC. Previously we had set  a target of  qualifying 15  athletes however  with  the current   funding model for team preparations and having   taken other  factors into considerations  we believe  Botswana will  be lucky  to qualify  eight individual athletes,” said Serufho.

In the past most of Botswana’s Olympians   have always emerged   from mostly athletics nevertheless even in the upcoming games it seems like it will be the   same story. As it stands boxing and volleyball Olympic qualifiers will be held early 2020 in January and February. In karate    qualifying tournament  will also  be  held  next  year and the  country’s  hopes  currently  lies   on Ofentse Bakwadi  who  is currently   better  ranked  to make it  to  the games. However for athletics deadline for qualification is set for June 29th .

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With the current   funding crisis Serufho has maintained that BNOC will continue with the SMS Donation Campaign   despite   a negative feedback from   the public. According to  Serufho the latest  statistics shows that they have received  only  4879  donations  as of November  18th .With the   campaign  set to continue  until  31st of August 2020 the  P2.5 million   target  set  by BNOC does not  look  achievable  at all. However as part of the  fund raising  initiatives BNOC will  host  a dinner  on the  29th  of February  2020 with  tickets going at P1000 per person, P10000  per table  while corporate tables range  between P75000 and P200000.



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