“Suspension of sport activities is a major departure from solving a problem,” so says Dr Tshepang Tshube.
The University of Botswana Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physical Education Health and Recreation views the suspension of sport activities as a set back and counterproductive.
“It is difficult to understand the primary objective of the suspension of sport and recreational activities and what really informed them,” he says.
Last month President Masisi further extended movement restrictions and relaxed curfew to start at 2200hrs to 0400hrs. Sport and recreation were suspended due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
Tshube notes that it is too harsh punishment to stop activities for athletes, administrators and to the industry as a whole.
To him sport activities lift morale where there is misery and uplift spirits of people.
“Sport can be used to help in fighting covid-19 because people who partake in sport reduce the risk of getting diseases and it is beneficiary to individuals’ health,” he says.
To him the government did not take a well-informed decision to suspended sport using a blanket approach.
“They could have allowed non-contact sport and less risk sport activities to continue and make sure people adhered to COVID-19 protocols,” he opines.
He observes that suspensions are taking a toll on the lives of athletes, employees and all who rely and benefit from sporting activities.
In a previous interview with this publication Tshube said prolonged suspension of sport should be looked into and leaders should come up with ways on how competitions should continue so that people and COVID-19 can co-exist.
“The sports leadership should now create an environment that will allow sports to continue because it doesn’t look like sport will be back any time soon,” he observes.
Dr Tshube adds that ‘sports as an industry should continue like other industries that are running sports.’
He says sports leaders should create provisions for sports to continue as they have done in other countries such as Europe, United States of America and some countries in Africa.
Tshube advises that athletes and administrators can do activities and do rapid test during competitions because it is cheaper.
He also says adherence to minimum protocols that implores people to social distance, sanitise and wearing of mask should be done all the time.
To him the masterminds behind suspension of sport did not consider the huge positive impact that sport contributes to the community and athletes.
“You cannot have continuous suspension of sport when you open bars to sell alcohol while the latter is seen as a super spreader of the disease. The decision of opening for alcohol and stopping sport is puzzling,” Tshube says.
Later this year, the Tokyo Olympics which were deferred last year are expected to be staged provided the disease is under control.
Tshube says: “For the athletes who have been training hard preparing for Olympics, the decision is a drawback.”
“We have to send athletes, who are ready and can compete and bring glory to the country rather than just go there to participate,” he opines.