Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Botswana Swimming benefits from hosting championships

The Botswana Swimming Sport Association (BSSA) says it has benefited a lot from hosting the just ended CANA Zone 3 & 4 swimming championships.

The championship, the first of its magnitude to be hosted by the BSSA, ended this past Saturday with Botswana taking the championship, a vast improvement from its last participation in Kenya where they got 4th position overall.

Speaking in an interview with Telegraph Sport, BSSA Assistant Secretary General Sibongile Ruele said hosting the championships will help a lot in raising the profile of swimming sport in the country.

“Prior to the championships, we trained close to 100 officials who were then used in the championships. Before then, we had some officials but most of them were not well trained,” Ruele informed Telegraph Sport. “We are hoping to see some of these going back to their schools and regions where they will use their knowledge in the development of the sport,” she added.

Apart from the development of officials, the BSSA official also said the championships have helped expose the talent that Botswana has. She says some of the athletes who took part in the championships were “selected from the Botswana games and are from regions that do not have any big swimming pools”, something which she says alludes to interest of local youth in swimming sport.

“Swimming is a very young sport in the country. We have only five years of existence and our performance in the championships alludes to the talent we have at our disposal,” she further said.

Ruele said that of the records broken during the championships, the country was not left behind as one member of Botswana team, 12-year-old Martin Du Toit broke the 100 meter breaststroke games records. Ruele says as such, they are planning to hold swimming clinics for potential swimmers, something which they intend to do in conjunction with neighbouring countries.

The BSSA official further added that they intend to take a sizable number of athletes to the Mozambique championships next year to give as many promising swimmers as much exposure as possible.

The BSSA assistant Secretary General says her association will also be benchmarking on swimming powerhouses like Mauritius to see how best to carry out the swimming sport development in the country.

Meanwhile, Ruele says BSSA will be stepping up its preparations for the upcoming continental and international swimming competitions. She says the BSSA will, after the National championships due to be held in March this year, select a team to represent the country at the Africa games and the CANA Zone 3 & 4 championships, all to be held in Mozambique in September and early next year respectively.

Ruele further says a team to take part in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics as well as the Commonwealth has already been identified and will be given all assistance to ensure it prepares well and qualifies for the said games.

The BSSA expressed gratitude at the support they got from stakeholders like parents, Botswana National Sports Council, Botswana National Olympic Committee and sponsors, saying their continued support is the reason behind the growth of swimming in Botswana. She says with the same support from all concerned to general sport in the country, Botswana will be a sporting success in the future.


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