The Sports Performance Management consultancy team is very soon expected to make its final presentations of the country’s national Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework. The LTAD is expected to create pathways for athletes’ development in Botswana.
“We roped in the consultants in 2009 to help develop the LTAD after we realised that there were no pathways for athletes’ development in the country. In instances where they existed, they were either disjointed and there was no synergy between development programmes,” Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho said in an interview with Standard Sport.
While acknowledging that some sporting codes already had development programmes in place, the BNOC CEO says they realised that some of them just existed but were not relevant to the current times.
“We had to ask ourselves questions like who takes care of athletes and whether the development programmes were scientifically based, to which the answer is no,” Serufho said.
“In the current age, athletes’ development programmes must be scientifically based so that development can be done accordingly. Parallel to athletes’ development, there must also be proper development of coaches. There is a lack of high level coaches to help in the development,” the BNOC CEO added.
He said the BNOC is vouching for an age-based scientific development in which athletes will not only be developed on the sport they excel in, but also in the one they are more passionate about.
Serufho said under the modern development programmes, there is a specific age in child development where children can be inducted into specific sport development. This is the route to be followed to ensure that talented athletes are not developed in sports they have no passion for, which could result in their quitting at an early age, he added.
He said there is also need for clearer pathways on how to keep talented young athletes in sport even if they are not able to progress with their education. Under the current development programmes, many talented athletes who fail at school end up being lost to sports and the belief is that the LTAD would solve this problem, Serufho said.
The BNOC CEO pleaded with the nation to embrace the LTAD framework, which he hopes will be presented to the Ministry of Sport and Culture sometime this month, saying the LTAD is a national project which requires involvement of all stakeholders.
He said once presented and adopted, all sporting codes will be expected to adapt it to their specific codes. While expecting some parts of the LTAD to be implemented immediately, the BNOC CEO said most of the LTAD would need both financial and human resources to be implemented and this would take some time.
He added that it would also take time for the LTAD to bear fruit, as it takes 8-10 years to develop an Olympic athlete. While not overly positive that the programmes’ impact would to the Rio 2016 Olympics, Serufho however expects more impact to be felt beyond then.
He expressed confidence on the Dr Steve Norris led consultancy team engaged to create the LTAD framework, saying their experience in the field is what landed them the consultancy tender.