Sunday, January 16, 2022

BAYGOC to create lasting legacy from African Youth Games

The Botswana African Youth Games Organizing Committee (BAYGOC) says everyone will be talking about Botswana and the 2nd Africa Youth Games long after athletes have boarded planes to go back home.
The committee, charged with staging the biggest sporting event in Botswana says plans to create a legacy that will outlive the games scheduled for next year.
At least 2 500 athletes from 54 African countries will descend on Botswana next year for an event that will test the countries capacity to host an event of this size.
The committee hopes to make the games a platform to develop capacity as well as to propel the country’s sporting and tourism sectors. Speaking in an interview, BAYGOC’s Marketing and Outreach Manager, Olebogeng Lejowa said with the responsibility of successfully delivering the first games of this magnitude falling on local Batswana, the organising committee endeavours to have imparted a lot of skills on locals when the games conclude. She said with most of the staff ‘learning on the job,’ by the end of the games, locals should have gained enough experience for them to host other major sporting events in future. To this end, Lejowa said they have had a lot of support from stakeholders such as the Government, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) who she said have brought in necessary skills and expertise. Apart from capacity building, the BAYGOC Marketing and Outreach Manager says the committee hopes the games will change people’s perspective and perception of Botswana and place the country as a sporting hub in the continent. “Our dream is that when the games are done, we should have erected long lasting sports infrastructure where possible. We are aware that we cannot do all that we seek to do on our own and we are appealing to other stakeholders to help and support us in every way possible because without their support, most of the things we want will not be possible,” Lejowa explained. Should BAYGOC succeed in ensuring erection of permanent structures in facilities, the committee’s Marketing and Outreach Manager says this would greatly benefit sporting codes and contribute to the growth of sport in the country. “For some of our youth who will be competing, these games will give them the exposure and experience of competing at the highest level. Competing codes like Athletics, Basketball and swimming will use the games for an opportunity to qualify for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics,” Lejowa explained. She said for those youth who will be watching and not competing, being at the games will afford them the opportunity to learn and get involved in sports. Away from the sporting fields, the BAYGOC Marketing and Outreach Manager says the committee wants to use the games to position Botswana as a destination of choice as well as a destination for potential investors. “We want all those who will be visiting the country during the games to have a life time experience and to consider coming back to the country, either for sports, as tourists or even as investors. It is with this in mind that across all our boards, we have sought to involve all stakeholders to cater for the interests of Botswana,” she explained. The games, which have an estimated budget of P75 million and at least 2 500 young African athletes expected to compete across 20 ÔÇô 22 sporting codes, will be held in Gaborone in May next year.

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