Saturday, September 25, 2021

Athletes urged to utilise funding programs

Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo has urged all the various national team athletes to come forth and seek extra information concerning the funding programs available at the commission.  

According to Sedimo, the Elite scholarship and Zebra funding programs offer young athletes opportunities to advance their academics and sports talent in different institutions in and outside Botswana. Sedimo said the Zebra athlete fund which focuses on equipping athletes with sporting equipment is open to all athletes who are excelling in their respective sporting codes regardless of their academic status.

“One of the objectives that is within the BNSC vision 2028 is to professionalise sports in Botswana, and we choose athletes who show capability and growth in their talent and enhance it further to keep them well in shape as well as to make a living out of sports,” Sedimo explained.  

The Elite scholarship fund is issued by BNSC in conjunction with Ministry of education and skills development (MoE) to athletes who just completed their higher education and want to advance their academics at tertiary institutions abroad.

“These athletes are expected to avail themselves whenever they are needed for all continental and international national team activities, so that we gauge and monitor their individual progress in terms of sports,” Sedimo continued.

However, Sedimo clarified the appropriate procedure used to select the deserving athletes for the programs by saying all athletes have to be assessed and can be approved or declined.

“All these athletes who are admitted under these programs are regularly monitored by our internal sports development committee representatives who visit them where they are based around the globe. Apart from other communication means, we receive monthly reports from their coaches who keep a close eye on them” the BNSC boss enlightened.

Botswana Karate association recently tagged along two Karatekas; Khaya Groth who is in the United Kingdom University and Loagonyana Phefo from Australia (who are both under the BNSC elite scholarship) to compete at the junior championships which were held in Indonesia last year November.

“Our athletes are all over the world through these programs and they are doing well,” Sedimo added.

The Zebra athlete fund and elite scholarship were established over 2 decades ago in 1997,with the likes of BNSC sports development officer Thato Kgosimore, athletics national team coach Justice Dipeba and Sensei Thabiso Maratlwaneng amongst others having benefited from the program.

Ladies cricket national team captain Shameela Mosweu who is only 20 years old and the three other netball national team players will be heading to UK and Australia very soon after they were granted the Elite scholarship to further their studies abroad.

Sedimo said they work hand in hand with parents to ensure that athletes do not lose plot and go berserk while they are outside the country. “We want the country to reap positive results from these athletes as well as to increase Global competitiveness. I advise athletes to take sports serious so that they become great sports icons,” Sedimo added.

A total of 79 athletes have benefited from the program over the past years and 25 are currently registered.

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