Tuesday, May 21, 2024

BNOC steps up athletes’ development programmes

The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho says the BNOC’s plans to establish a High Performance Centre (HPC) are ongoing.

With the country continuing to churn out talented young athletes who have the capability to make the country proud, the BNOC CEO says it is imperative that the country establish its own HPC. With the costs of putting athletes through High Performance Centre very high, the establishment of such a facility is looked upon as a way forward towards developing and nurturing the talent in the country as it seeks to develop elite athletes.

Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, Serufho said the BNOC is looking out for alternatives to fast track the establishment of the centre.

“One of the alternatives that we are looking at is engaging the University of Botswana (UB) to offer such a facility. With the planned redevelopment of their facilities and equipment, we believe that they can offer such an establishment,” the BNOC CEO explained.

He said apart from the proposed development of facilities at the UB, the fact that there already is a Physical Education course at the UB makes it even more attractive as a place to fast track the HPC establishment in the country.

“As we have always stated, an HPC is not just mere facilities. It involves a lot of other things like Sports Science and medical science. All these are available at the UB and as such it will be a perfect place for us to establish our HPC,” the BNOC CEO continued. Should an agreement be struck with the UB, the BNOC CEO said elite local athletes will then have access to the support and facilities from the UB while the BNOC together with other stakeholders will ensure that they find accommodation for athletes.

Besides Sports Science and Medical Science, Serufho said another important aspect of an HPC is qualified coaches, of which he said the BNOC is also trying to fast track. He said after years of hosting level one coaching courses, they have now started hosting level two coaching courses as they seek to upgrade coaches in the country.

“We are hoping that from this year, we will have at least two level two courses a year as we try to ensure that our coaches get as much training as possible,” Serufho said. Still on the issue of athlete development, the BNOC CEO said there is an ongoing process at the BNOC to establish an Athletes Support Programme.

According to Serufho, the programme will ensure that a comprehensive support mechanism is put in place to help designated development and elite athletes.

“Under this programme, we are seeking to ensure that chosen athletes are provided with all the basic necessities to help them in their development and preparations. This provision will ensure that athletes have access to training funds, physiotherapists, medical help as well as funds for basic things such as training gear. In some circumstances, they will even have monthly stipend to ensure they can buy themselves some basic necessities,” he explained.

Serufho says after a year of planning and selling the idea to stakeholders, the Athletes Support Programme is likely to be launched in the near future.

“The board has approved the programme at their last retreat and we are now hoping that by the end of this weekend, our affiliates will approve it. At the moment, there are a couple of companies that have shown keen interest in partnering us in this venture and once our affiliates approve it, we will engage them again,” Serufho said.

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