The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has received a $100 000 US (P750 000) grant to prepare for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The grant was given to the BNOC by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) through the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games organizers. Speaking in an interview, BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho, said the grant will be used on a targeted number of athletes to help them adequately prepare for the games.
Serufho said that the funds were availed to the BNOC after it had applied for such a grant. He added that as a prerequisite, the BNOC had to give the CGF a clear indication of how the funds will be used as well as assure them that the money will be solely used on codes that are allowed to compete at the Commonwealth Games.
“As such, we will be expected to give the CGF a full account of how we used the funds if they are to give us any grants in future,” Serufho explained.
He noted that, as with preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games, the money will be spread only among athletes and sporting codes with the potential to bring the country glory.
Serufho was quick to point out that while the money will be used on athletes with better medal prospects, more consideration will be given to athletes who are not on sponsorships.
“This money is not enough to spread among a lot of athletes. With this in mind, we have decided that our elite athletes who are on sponsorships will not be helped through this grant,” he explained, adding that so far, athletes who have already benefited from the grant include the likes of Naomi Ruele of swimming as well as the squash team, made up of the likes of Alister Walker and Lekgotla Mosope, which is currently competing at the Africa Senior Championships in Namibia.
“We are hopeful that in the coming weeks, we will be able to make known the name of other athletes who will benefit from this grant,” Serufho continued.
He added that having set up an ambitious target of garnering at least 14 medals from next year’s Commonwealth Games, it is only sensible that the grant be used to help athletes who have the capability to help the country reach the target.
“Our past successes, more especially at the Olympics, have taught us that we do not need to send a bigger team to the games to win. If you remember, we sent only four athletes to compete at the games and we managed to bring a medal. The same also happened at the Delhi Games where we sent a small contingent and managed to bring home four medals. Given the meager finances at our disposal, we therefore have to give priority to a few athletes with medal potential and help them prepare the best way possible to ensure they can compete,” Serufho explained. “However, this does not mean we will ignore other athletes. We are still expecting some more funds like the Continental Games Preparation funds and from these other deserving athletes will benefit,” he said.