Former president Sir Ketumile Masire recently joined the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) at a ceremony to send off Botswana’s representatives to the inaugural African Youth Games that are to be held in Morocco.
The Morocco bound team is made up of 23 representatives from different sporting codes, such as Tennis, swimming, Judo, as well as athletics. The majority of the national representatives who are still in school expect kick-off of the games on the 13th of July.
It’s said that the 1st African Youth Games will be held to provide African athletes with rigorous training, thus giving them a competitive edge at the Olympic Youth Games in Singapore 2010.
BNOC president, Negroes Kgosietsile, revealed that the announcement regarding the African Youth games was made in February and they were initially not budgeted for. He said that they were indebted to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for seeing it fit to enable funds for the games at short notice.
“There is no limit to the amount of medals we want, I take it this team will join Amantle Montsho in making our country proud,” said Kgosietsile.
While congratulating the representatives for making the selection, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, reminded them that success on their part will make it easier for his ministry to argue with greater conviction for increased funding for sport from both government and the private sector.
He also said that his ministry sees the games as a noble initiative considering the fact that Botswana has always decried the lack of meaningful competitions in our continent, which has rendered our athletes uncompetitive.
Kgathi said that when it comes to such competitions, the problem they are faced with is the difference in academic calendars of the many different countries of Africa.
“As the leadership of this country, we shall do everything in our power to ensure that, in future, the African youth games and other competitions where the involvement of school going athletes would be necessary would be held during periods that would cause minimum disruption to their academic programmes,” said Kgathi.