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.
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.
“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 .
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.