Discussions are ongoing between the Botswana government and the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) for the country to consider hosting the 2022 Youth Olympic Games.
This follows a recent visit to Botswana by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to discuss the prospects of the country to host the event.
The unsolicited consideration of Botswana as potential hosts by the IOC is said to have wetted the appetite of the country’s sports leadership, who are keen to host one of the biggest youth sport events in the world.
“I can confirm that we received from IOC early this year the highest honor of time, of the possibility of Botswana hosting the youth Olympic Games. We are in talks with the government and IOC so that we could send a bid and get assessed thereafter,” BNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho revealed.
Speaking in an interview, Serufho highlighted that it is not merely hosting the games but subsequently that Botswana will be the first-ever African country to host games of such magnitude.
“We have gained recognition because we have been chosen as one of the top 4 out of 54 African countries. Whether we win the bid or not, we shall celebrate the fact that we got considered for such games,” he said.
The BNOC CEO further said the recognition came after the country successfully hosting the second African Youth games and the netball world cup.
“There were suggestions from the continent and beyond for Botswana to bid for hosting the games. This shows that countries appreciate and took record of our facilities and securities in previous events,” he added.
Serufho said hosting an event of this magnitude would be an opportunity for Botswana to invest, with the rewards expected to surpass the investment itself. Should Botswana host, the BNOC CEO said the benefits will have an impact not only to sport but for the tourism industry as well.
“With 207 countries expected to partake in the games, there will be more attendance from athletes to supporters as well. It is this time that we will be in the spotlight,” Serufho said.
It is also a chance for University of Botswana to promote themselves to aspiring learners from abroad so that they consider it as a learning hub. “Many benefits surround these games; they open many doors for us, the ministry of trade and industry will also surface,” he added.
Among the many benefits, the best opportunity for Botswana will be the several television broadcasts across countries hence the need for consideration for such an offer. It is this time that Botswana will be profiling itself, allowing the world to see and experience the country.
“There will be several TV broadcasts hence Botswana will benefit in that sense, people will know where the country is located and even do research on its background,” he explained.
BNOC has confirmed that discussions are still at early stages, with IOC and various stakeholders engaged. “If we are to win the bid then it will be a great opportunity for our athletes as well, the likes of Karabo Sibanda and Baboloki Thebe who are the world’s finest athletes,” he added. Development wise for the athletes this is said to benefit them in several ways provided they will use them accordingly.