The team to the Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games promises to do better than in the previous event and bring glory home.
Bahamas is gearing up to host 71 countries at the sixth annual Commonwealth Youth Games from July 18 to 23, 2017. The Games are a unique and empowering opportunity to celebrate and engage young people on the playing field, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) CEO, Tuelo Serufho.
Briefing the media on Monday, Serufho explained that the Commonwealth Games Association of Botswana has put forth a commendable team to compete against the best youth athletes from in the Commonwealth countries. Botswana will be represented by 14 athletes across 4 sports codes aged between 15 and 18 years, being athletics, boxing, and swimming and for the first time in history a cycling team will be compete.
“The Games are an important stepping stone for these athletes who have their eyes on meets like the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Previous participants at the Games have gone on to be sporting heroes, with the likes of Nigel Amos and Karabo Sibanda competing in 2011 and 2015 respectively,” observed Serufho.
He said expected the athletes to the country proud in Bahamas and on future competitions on the world stage. Serufho explained that the team had been preparing under the careful guidance of the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
He said they LOC had selected the best possible youth team to represent Botswana at these Games.
The athletics team comprises of Oarabile Tshosa and Rose Sename who will be doing 100m and 200m in the female category. In the 400m Botswana will be represented by Tlhompang Basele and Naledi Lopang. The four boys being Olesitse Bernard (400m/800m), Mothusi Boitshwarelo (200m), Phodiso Rampa (200m) and Omphile Ntaolang (400m) are expected to compete in the identified categories.
In swimming the country will be represented by James Freeman in 1 500m freestyle, 200m among other competitions he will compete in. Boxing will be represented by the duo of Treasure Moremi and Brian Galelemongwe who will be competing in the 56kg and 64 kg respectively. In cycling the country will be represented by Dimpho Masi, Arnold Kokwane and Tsaone Latiwa.
In an interview with the athletics team manager, Meriam Mokgadi said they were optimistic that the athletics team will do well. “We are not going to commit and put pressure on our athletes by putting medal target on them. We want the youngsters to gain exposure and necessary experience that they will use in future competitions.” Mokgadi said they wanted the team to improve on their personal times and if they bring medals it will be a bonus to them.
“Preparations were good and everything went well according to the plan. We don’t have any injuries in the team and we can only ask Batswana to rally behind the team,” Mokgadi said.
The athletics team left on Monday to Kenya for the IAAF World Youth Championships from July 10 to 16, before joining the rest of Team Botswana in Bahamas on July 18.
The lone swimmer, is based at HPC-Pretoria and will come to Botswana for the send-off ceremony (12th July) and depart with the team from Gaborone.
The team is led by Lechedzani Luza as the Chef de Mission.