The Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) is embarking on an ambitious plan to increase the country’s competitiveness in international competitions by the year 2016.
The Committee held an extra-ordinary meeting last week Thursday to endorse the strategy.
BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho, says the strategy has been created to coincide with the National Vision.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport, the BNOC chief said the strategic plan intends not only to increase the number of athletes participating in international games but also intends to bring back medals. He says they intend to submit their plan and the budget to the government by the end of this month.
Serufho says as part of the Swaziland 12 by 12 Agreement between Southern African Sports ministers, the country is expected to bring at least a single gold medal from the London Olympics in 2012.
According to the agreement, SADC countries agreed to bring 12 gold medals from the 2012 Olympics.
As per the agreement, South Africa and Zimbabwe are expected to bring two gold medals each while the remaining countries are to bring one gold medal each.
Serufho says the BNOC has already engaged their affiliates to come out with strategies on how to achieve this quest. However, with the immediacy of the London Olympics in mind and the obligation of the country to bring at least a single medal, the BNOC intends to further engage their affiliates to decide which codes to focus on for the 2012 games. He says they will only focus on codes that have the potential to bring a medal for 2012 but will include all affiliates for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
BNOC intends to send at least between 16 and 20 athletes as well as two team sports for the London games to achieve their mission.
Serufho says to enhance the country’s chances of achieving its intention at the coming Olympics, affiliates who have been identified as having potential to bring medals will be allocated funds to concentrate on preparing.
The chosen affiliates will have to present their plans and budgets to the BNOC before being allocated the funds. The BNOC will then monitor the affiliates to check whether they comply and adhere to their programmes. Serufho says as part of the preparations and where possible, they intend to assign to all Olympic bound affiliates Sport Scientists, Physios and Psychologists to work with them to prepare athletes for the big stage. These, he says, will take care of some aspects of athletes’ preparations, including nutrition, psychological help as well as avoiding injuries.
The BNOC chief says while their involvement with affiliates has in the past been more focused on taking athletes to the Olympic Games, they now intend to be more involved in preparations to ensure athletes are competitive.
He says they intend to allocate more funds to affiliates to prepare for international competitions.
Beyond the 2012 Olympics, BNOC says it intends to increase the number of athletes competing in elite international competitions. According to their strategy, they are aiming for the country to amass 12 medals at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and four medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
To increase their medal chances at Rio 2016, BNOC says it intends to send at least 30 athletes and four teams to the games.
While this maybe their most ambitious plan up to now, the BNOC is quick to point out the fact that the success of this strategic plan will depend mostly on the availability of funds. The BNOC chief says at the moment, preparations are not going as smooth as expected mainly due to financial constraints. With this in mind, affiliates have to ensure that available funds are channeled towards competitions which may help athletes qualify for elite international competitions.