The Tokyo 2020 Olympics fundraising drive by the Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) looks set to receive a cold shoulder from locals.
With the P2.5 million anticipated to have been donated through sms by August 2020, four months after the deadline the fund is reportedly a skeleton struggling to make ends meet to support athletes bound to compete at the Tokyo Olympics slated for July 2021.
The dull reception of the campaign reportedly accrued just 6000 messages with the money estimated at just a mere P30000. In an interview with acting BNOC chief executive officer (CEO) Wedu Motswetla said it is sad that the campaign has since lost steam due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s emergence in the past year.
“The SMS campaign had since lost steam with the Covid-19 pandemic’s emergence and the first lockdown when physical activations were disturbed by Covid-19 restrictions. However, the campaign is still running, and we continue doing online activations on our social media platforms. The response we are getting is not positive because respondents complain about the economic downturn and losses of income and or employment to others due to Covid-19. We hope to re-launch the campaign as soon as the situation is favorable. We have since managed to accrue plus-minus 6000 messages from our supporters so far,” Motswetla told Sunday Standard.
She said they have also reviewed the medals target for the games. As the initial target of medals at the games was four, it has since been reduced to two. ‘
“The target to qualify 15 athletes still stands, however, the medal target has since been revised to 2 medals with 3 being a stretch. To inspire and motivate more athletes to qualify, the BNOC and the MYSC introduced a Qualification incentive, which is an amount given monthly from the date that the athlete qualifies until the Games. The qualification incentive is P8, 333. 36, this is over and above camp allowances,” said Motswetla.
Furthermore, Motswetla concluded: “As you are already aware that we just came back from the festive season, teams had also taken a break for the festive season. Teams are slowly resuming their training as per their training plans. With Athletics expected to commence their training camp this weekend, boxing commenced yesterday Thursday, 14th; Cycling is resuming too, but theirs is normally a weekend camp because their athlete is also a student. PASSOBO has since resumed their camp. Weightlifting started too, and Judo is expected to resume any time from now while the Taekwando athlete is training from home.
While the BNOC reportedly targets four medals at the Tokyo extravaganza, the nation boasts a single medal of the Olympics. The medal was gunned down in 2012 at the London Olympics by then little-known Nigel Amos scooping silver in a race that has been recorded as the fastest 600m race in the history of Olympics.
Some of the renowned athletes Botswana boasts with capabilities of bringing medals home includes the likes of 400m Commonwealth Games champion Isaac Makwala, 2012 800m Olympic silver medalist Nigel Amos, 400m sprinters Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda. Youngsters Thebe and Sibanda have proved their mettle against the best and competed in the IAAF diamond league meets and have the need experience in the game.