Former Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth Masekgoa Masire Mwamba has called for serious consideration in four areas in sport which are building awareness and encouraging dialogue in sports for development, child protection in sport, fostering self-esteem and empowerment and using sport to promote social inclusion. She said this at a public lecture organised by the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) where Masire-Mwamba was the guest speaker. Among other dignitaries that graced the event were former Diplomat and Minister of Foreign affairs Gaositwe Chiepe, India High Commissioner to Botswana Hemalata Bhagirath and Deputy British High Commissioner to Botswana Oliver Richards. With the theme ‘Uniting the Commonwealth Family Through sport’, Masire-Mwamba referred to sport as a mysterious phenomenon that make someone feel the need to support one opponent over another, forming a bond that seems to only grow stronger as the match develops. “Before we know it we are already shedding tears of joy with friends and strangers alike wanting to high five or hugging players that we do not even know," she said. She asserted that the uniting thread is mostly amplified when the local sport take centre stage on a global platforms such as World Cups, Olympic Games, Regional Games and indeed the Commonwealth games.
The Commonwealth Games are affectionately known as the friendly games. The 11-day multi-sport event that brings elite athletes of the Commonwealth together is described as the biggest public manifestation of the Commonwealth in action. It is an association of 53 countries from across five designated regions. Masire-Mwamba referred to it not as an organisation but rather as a family. She revealed that during her tenure as Deputy Secretary General, she had the pleasure of attending the games in New Delhi, India. She appreciated the natural lift that the athletes who did not win anything always show in their next competitions in. “It is part of the beauty of the competition, perhaps this should be amongst the top considerations when international sporting events are put on, beyond the medals and victories there is always a natural lift that sees us all grow,” she said.
She recognised the 2nd Africa Youth Games that were successfully hosted by Botswana last year as an event that showed the potential of a young person growing. She recalled that Botswana’s participation in the Commonwealth games was in 1974, with the country’s first medal coming from Edinburgh in 1986 while the current tally of medals for Botswana stands at two gold, four silver and six bronze medals. BNOC Chairman Negros Kgosietisle said they want to promote the spirit of Olympism and the Commonwealth ideals in order to advance elite sport and mass participation in Batswana including women and people with disabilities.