Thursday, June 13, 2024

Botswana’s road to Paris 2024 paved with financial hurdles

In March 2021, the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) alongside Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) collaborated with Tsa Gae Investment, known as All Kasi, to launch the United for BW Sport T-shirt campaign. 

The campaign was said to be a way of raising funds for sports in general amid the devastation of Covid-19. Some of the proceeds from the campaign were to be used for the covid-19 delayed Tokyo Olympics. 

It was envisaged that some monies gained from the campaign will be transferred into a trust account. The monies would be accessible to sporting codes in their time of need. A few months after the launch, however, the campaign ground to a halt.

Now, with the Paris 2024 Olympics fast approaching, sporting codes are back to the pre-United for BW sport campaign. Monies to finance preparations are not being availed. What happened to the campaign? 

BNOC Business Development and Strategy Manager Baboni Khupe says the campaign ‘experienced some unforeseen technical challenges’ and stopped. It was however well received by Batswana. Five months into production on September 2011, the United for BW Sport t-shirt campaign generated a total of P209 122.42.

“The uptake from Batswana was promising. Production will be resumed at a later date, given the encouraging sales,” Khupe says. She says the campaign was envisioned ‘to assist Botswana sport during the then austere times owing to the onset of Covid-19.’

“Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were one aspect of the campaign’s mandate but was not its sole objective. It was broader based and looking to assist all levels of sport throughout the country. The partnership included the BNSC and thus aspired to assist sport from grassroots through to elite levels, in the post Covid era,” Khupe explains. 

Given National Sporting Associations (NSA)’s financial struggles, funds from the campaign would have surely come in handy. Khupe says the BNOC is cognizant of the NSA’s reduced budgets. 

The BNOC Business Development and Strategy Manager says they have ‘several fund-raising initiatives they are working on towards Paris 2024.’ The initiatives, which aim to involve all Batswana from individuals to corporates will be unveiled later in the month of September.

Despite the financial constraints, Khupe says the BNOC is currently preparing teams to qualify for the Olympics.  Currently, the Botswana Boxing team is in a training camp in Lusaka, Zambia. They are preparing for the upcoming Paris 2024 qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal scheduled for September 9th – 15th.

The athletics team on the other hand has successfully qualified five athletes for Paris 2024. The athletes qualified prior and during the just recent World Athletics Championships which were held at Budapest. 

Khupe says the BNOC is currently reviewing the long list of sporting codes who expressed interest in participating at the Olympic Games. The review is focussed on sporting codes with a realistic chance to qualify, whilst simultaneously streamlining the available resources accordingly to make sure each sporting code has a chance to attempt qualification. 

“There are sporting codes that have already been supported as a result of their qualification events having started earlier in the quadrennial,” she says. 

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