Botswana will send a 26-men strong team to the upcoming Commonwealth Games due to be held in Delhi, India.
The team, which was officially named on Friday, is expected to leave the country tomorrow morning (Monday) and is expected in India on Tuesday. The team, which is made up of athletics, boxing, bowling and Squash players, will have the Botswana National Olympic Committee Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho, as its Chief of Mission.
Officially sending the team off, the Director of Sport and Recreation, Falcon Sedimo, said there are a lot of expectations for the team to do well at the games.
“The fact that these games are taking place on the back of good performance by several of our national teams, among them the netball team and the Zebras, the nation will be watching team Botswana’s performance at the Delhi games with great interest and anticipation,” Sedimo told the team. He says he is very hopeful that it will meet its set target of bringing home eight medals from the Delhi games. The Sport and Recreation director says while this may seem unattainable, considering that the highest medal number ever accrued at the games was three at the 2002 Manchester Games, the task is not impossible.
Sedimo expressed confidence on the team going to the games, saying ‘the athletes selected to represent the country at the games have what it takes to ensure that the nation is well represented”.
He added that with the country celebrating its 44th Independence next week, bringing home medals will be the best gift the nation could ask for. Sedimo took the moment to urge local sporting bodies ‘to use sport psychologists to help our athletes deal with sport environment within which they compete,’ adding that psychological preparedness is as essential as physical fitness is. The Sport and Recreation Director urged the athletes to show great discipline while at the games, saying while ‘winning is not everything, it is the thing.’
He urged them not to deviate from values that Batswana are known for, which include discipline, humility and cooperation, adding that any deviation will only undo all that many before us have done for this country. Sedimo took the opportunity to caution athletes from using any performance enhancing drugs and called for a spirit of camaraderie and fairness whether they win or lose.
He says while local athletes have not been caught using these in the past, the recent case in which a local athlete was banned for two years for using performance enhancing drugs points to the need for athletes to be educated on this topic.
Meanwhile, Sedimo says they are aware of ‘concerns that have been raised from numerous quarters about the state of readiness of Delhi for delivering the games, and also the concerns on health and security.’
“While these are important concerns, Botswana believes that the government of India and the Local Organising Committee will do their best to deliver games that will remain memorable,” he said, adding that it is not always that major events enjoy a trouble free build up. He says they have been informed that these matters are being addressed as a matter of urgency by the Indian government and the Games Organising Committee. He called upon athletes to take responsibility, saying that while they are guaranteed safety by the organizers, they too have a role to play as regards their safety and security.
The Botswana team is composed of 12 athletes, 12 bowlers, 6 boxers and 2 squash players.
Meanwhile, the local team’s head of mission, Tuelo Serufho is already in India to prepare for the team’s arrival. Serufho left the country for India on Friday.