Friday, August 12, 2022

Athlete Development framework ÔÇô dawn of new local sporting era

The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, says Botswana’s Long Term Athlete Development programme (LTAD) will usher in a new era for local sport.

Receiving the blueprint of Botswana’s sport development, Kgathi said the LTAD will provide ‘deliberate and defined pathways for athlete progression in our sport development system.’

He says should the programme be adapted by all sporting codes, the country will in the future have a good pool of sporting talent to select for the national teams.

“Gone are the days when team selection premised on one good shot at goal or pressure from media reports,” Kgathi said in his acceptance remarks.

The Minister urged sporting codes to adopt the framework, saying the country can no longer sustain costly and disjointed efforts that have no clear outcomes nor proper pathways for athletes.
“The LTAD framework, while not necessarily the panacea to the challenges bedevilling our sport, is surely one way that has great potential to give us direction, improving the synergies between the various sport delivery organs and ensuring greater coverage by our sport,” Minister Kgathi continued.

He says one of the programmes that stand to gain a lot from the LTAD is Centres of Sport Excellence that are being started in secondary schools across the country.

The minister vowed to ‘discuss with other stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, how we could ensure that some principles of the LTAD can be practicable within the school setting. While he received and accepted the framework, Minister Kgathi’s challenge will now be selling the framework to relevant structures so that it can be adopted as a national framework.

Should it be adopted as such, the LTAD will be a mandatory framework that will have to be adapted and adopted by all sporting codes. Meanwhile, the architect of Botswana’s own LTAD, Dr Peter Davies, from the Sports Performance Management (SPM), says the major challenge facing the successful implementation of the LTAD is lack of elite coaches. Dr Davies says while some of the local sporting codes already have good athlete development programmes, lack of highly qualified coaches at the lowest level is their major problem.

He is, however, hopeful that the adoption of the framework, which involves the development of coaches, will remedy the situation. Dr Davies has cautioned sporting codes that the framework will not magically transform the country’s sporting fortunes but said it is one of the jigsaws to complete the puzzle.

Davies, whose Sport Performance Management was awarded the tender to draft the framework after an open bid said the framework was adapted from the Canadian LTAD model, which is regarded as the founding LTAD. He says SPM had extensive consultations with stakeholders, including the Department of Education and sporting codes to come up with a model that is suitable for Botswana. The implementation of the framework into a national programme is dependent on it (LTAD) being adopted by the government.

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