A lot of progress is being made towards the formation of Botswana’s first rowing and canoeing association. According to Botswana Yacht Club chairperson, Birgitta Sarrington, who is responsible for the formation of the new mother body, there has been a notable development towards establishing both the sport of rowing and canoeing in the country.
“We are still in the early stages of establishing the new association. We already have the canoeing and rowing sections at the Yacht Club but we are in the process of registering them separate from the Yacht Club as a different association so that they are eligible to compete in the international arena. We have already consulted the registrar of societies and the process is underway,” Sarrington said in an interview.
She added that ever since the process started as part of Botswana’s bid to accommodate a lot of sporting codes in their bid to host the 2014 Africa Youth Games, they have been in contact with the international mother bodies responsible for both rowing and canoeing and the response has been good. Sarrington said the international bodies have given them the go ahead to establish an association for both the two water sport codes.
While waiting for the new association to be official, Sarrington pointed out that work is ongoing to ensure that when all formalities are finished, nothing will be left outstanding.
“We have also been talking to the South African canoeing and rowing associations to help us.
However, we believe that more progress in the establishment and growth of both rowing and canoeing will depend on whether Botswana is granted to host status for next year’s Africa Youth Games,” she explained, adding that should Botswana be given the green light to host the games, they are expecting some officials from international canoeing to come into the country sometimes in May this year to make inspections.
Sarrington said there has already been a promise from the international rowing body to help Botswana should it be granted the Africa Youth Games host status. While most of the future development seems to lie in Botswana hosting the Africa Youth Games, Sarrington said the association will be established and will continue irrespective of whether Botswana host the games or not.
“As the Gaborone Yacht Club, it has always been in our interest to develop water sport in Botswana. The addition of rowing and canoeing will help spread and promote the interest of water sport,” she said.
For his part, Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho, said the advent of rowing and canoeing will increase the opportunity for Batswana to engage in sporting activities. He said as the country continues to compete in the international arena, it can only be good that more sporting codes are available for Batswana.
“We will never know where our strength lies and one of these sports may prove to be ours,” the BNOC CEO said.
Serufho said they are still waiting to hear whether the country will host the Africa Youth Games next year. However, with Botswana being the sole bidders for the games, expectations are high that the country will be given the host status.