Are athletics scholarships working for Botswana?
by Tshepho Bogosing
Botswana has, in the past, sent several top local athletes to various schools in Europe and America.
This was mainly done to help them improve their sporting careers to fiercely compete internationally. Some of the athletes who went abroad on such scholarships include Rampa Mosweu, Justice Dipeba, California Molefhe, Tuelo Setswamorago, Gable Garenamotse and several others.
However, it was only a fraction that managed to make their mark in major international competitions while others just vanished into thin air.
Garenamotse is the one who really made an impact, especially at the All Africa and Commonwealth Games.
Surprisingly, today, athletes locally-based athletes seem to be doing tremendously well compared to those who go out of the country. For instance, Glody Dube became the first local athlete to reach the Olympic finals while locally based.
Also Nigel Amos became the first local athlete to win an Olympic medal for Botswana while also being locally based. After winning a bronze medal at the just held Olympics, Amos has been showered with scholarship proposals from many universities around the world. But the question that lingers is whether he will be sent to the institutions that have what it takes to make him succeed further.
The Public Relations Officer of the Botswana Athletics Association, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, told The Telegraph Sports that the trend is worrying and it has to be addressed seriously.
“We have been observing that and it is really worrying. What we have realised is that sports in this country has never been taken seriously and once athletes go outside the country, they focus more on their academics side and put less effort in sports. Most of our athletes who went abroad just retire once they come back,” he said.
Ramatshaba added that the other problem is the type of scholarships, which are two fold.
“There is this scholarship from IAF, which mainly forces an athlete to be more into sports and then there is a college scholarship, which is more into education before sports. This means a College athlete has divided attention and some of our athletes went for it,” he said.
Even though Amos did well at the Olympics, Ramatshaba added that the onus is on him to choose the scholarship he wants.
Meanwhile, the national half marathon team will compete in Maputo on September 15. Almost all Southern African countries are expected to compete. Southern African power house, South Africa, is the current champion of the event, but Botswana is expected to give them a run for their money this time around.
1.Rapula Diphoko from Lefika Athletics Club
2.Godiraone Nhompe from BDFAC
3.Raobine Ramoseka from BDF AC
4.Tlholego Tsele from Selebi Phikwe Athletics Club
5.Sesebo Matlapeng from Lefika athletics Club
6.Kealeboga Motshereganyi from Gaborone Runners Club
1.Mosa Badubi from Bobonong CJSS
2.Onkemetse Solotate from Gaborone Runners Club
3.Joy Tau from Gaborone Runners Club
The team is coached by by Tinggayi .Majeremane