With only a year left before the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is stepping up its preparations for the world sporting showpiece.
According to the BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho, the committee will leave no stone unturned in its endeavours to bring glory to the country during the event.
“As you may be aware, we have drawn up our London 2012 and beyond plan, which is a comprehensive preparation plan, not only for the upcoming London Olympics but also other major sporting events like the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics,” Serufho told Standard Sport in an interview. “The plan was submitted to the government for approval late last year and we are awaiting their response, which will probably be done during the next financial year in April. Once it has been approved, we will then intensify our preparations,” he further said.
Serufho, however, says funds from the plan will only target athletes with potential to qualify for London 2012 as well as talented youngsters who will be prepared for youth Olympics and future world championships. Serufho further says they will try to use any other avenue coming along in their endeavours to fully prepare athletes for upcoming events.
“The Local Organising Committee of the London 2012 has offered close to P250 000 in refunds to those using their camping facilities ahead of the games and we will be looking on how better to utilise this opportunity to give our athletes better preparations,” Serufho said.
He added that they had already secured sponsorship for some sporting codes and some of the country’s elite sporting personalities to continue their preparations ahead of the upcoming major games.
“By the end of last year (2010), Olympic solidarity had approved close to P400 000 for our ladies volleyball team preparations for both the All Africa games and the Olympic Games,” the BNOC chief said in the interview. Serufho says as such, the ladies team has already started their preparations for the games and is already in camp. He further stated that three of Botswana’s elite athletes, Amantle Montsho, Kabelo Kgosiemang and Isaac Makwala have secured sponsorships to continue their preparations for major events.
“As you know, Montsho’s sponsorship at the high performance in Senegal came to an end last year. We have since found her sponsorship to go back to Senegal to continue her training. Makwala, who was also in Senegal, has secured a sponsorship and will now move to Jamaica where he will do his training while Kgosiemang is back in Germany, where he was based to continue his training,” Serufho said.
He further added that they will still be on the lookout for sponsorships for other deserving athletes to find better training outside where possible. He says the BNOC has a deliberate policy to uplift women athletes as well as to try and promote their participation in sports; hence they will try and accommodate more women in their sponsorship plans.
He, however, added that the BNOC is looking for ways to improve coaches and facilities in the country to give more athletes better training.
“We are trying to liaise with foreign Olympic committees around the world to help us with expertise to improve sport in the country. We are already in negotiations with countries like Jamaica, Germany, United Kingdom and Korea to help,” says Serufho.
He further says they are in liaison with the Olympic solidarity to help them in how to better help sporting codes to better execute their development structures, which will also include development of coaches. The BNOC CEO says focus should now be shifted to strengthening development structures to ensure that the country can produce as many talented athletes who will take over when the current crop of athletes retire from competitive sport.