Thursday, September 24, 2020

Botswana’s Olympic medal ambition may not be realistic

Despite optimism from the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) that Botswana can still get two medals from the oncoming London 2012 Olympics, indications are that Botswana is still lagging behind in preparations for the world sporting showpiece, with money being a major problem.

While other countries have started serious preparations, the BNOC is yet to get the necessary funds required to give local athletes the much needed preparations ahead of the global sporting showpiece. According to the BNOC Annual Report that was handed to the affiliates during the BNOC Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was held at the Gaborone Sun Hotel this past Thursday, the BNOC is yet to secure funds for the event. According to the report, the BNOC had expected the country’s preparations to be funded from three streams, namely the government, Olympic Solidarity as well as the Private Sector.

“To date, only the support of Olympic Solidarity has come through. Three athletes from athletics, Amantle Montsho, Kabelo Kgosiemang and Isaac Makwala have been on full Olympic solidarity scholarships for a few years now, with latest renewal of their scholarships occurring at the beginning of this year,” the report reads. “Regarding Government funding for the London 2012 Olympic Games, while government has engaged us a few times in the past on the issue, we have yet to get a confirmation of how much they will provide against our budget.

“At the Special General Assembly held in July this year, members approved a budget of P8.5 million for the games, for the financial year 2012/13. That was made on the understanding that the BNOC had previously submitted to government, the London 2012 & Beyond Plan, which had a budget that would cover the period pre April 2011 as well as post the London Olympic Games. The current funding status is that the BNOC has yet to receive any money for the two submissions, and on both, we have yet to hear how much would be availed.

“We are expecting to have heard from government before the end of the year, and it would appear we may only get a figure of P3 million for the period up to March 2012,” the report further reads.
Asked to comment whether Botswana’s maiden Olympic dream is still possible given the behind schedule state of preparations, BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho said the country’s two Olympic medals’ dream is still possible.

He said that while preparations are not where they should be, the country has potential to bring home the targeted two medals from London 2012 Olympics. On whether lack of adequate preparations for other athletes won’t mean over reliance on Montsho, which may end with her failing under immense pressure of expectations, Serufho said the country has other athletes besides the 400 metres women’s world champion who can win medals. He, however, concurred that should the money not be availed to other athletes as early as January for them to start training, things may not go as expected for the country. As part of the Southern African region agreement to get 12 gold medals at the London Olympics, otherwise known as 12 by 12, Botswana is obligated to bring at least one gold medal from the 2012 Olympics.

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