The German Government, through its International Sports Cooperation Programme, has donated equipment worth 1 500 Euros (about P15 000) to the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) grassroots development programme.
The equipment, which will be given to various schools across the country, was handed over by the Ambassador of Germany to Botswana, Mrs Annett G├╝nther on Friday.
The handover coincided with the end of a three-week assignment of German athletics expert, Oliver Scheer, who had been in the country to look at BAA’s grassroots development and to help the association draft its own Long Term Athletics Development plan (LTAD).
Speaking at the equipment handover, the German Ambassador said both Mr Scheer’s visit and the equipment donated came courtesy of the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Olympic Sports Confederation as well as the German Athletics Association. She said under the International Sports Cooperation, which has financed over 1 300 long-term and short-term projects in over 100 countries, the German government seeks to help developing and emerging countries. She said some of the most prominent projects they have financed in Africa through the programme include training athletics coaches in Tanzania as well as advising the South African Football Association.
G├╝nther said the German government, under the motto “people on the move ÔÇô overcoming borders,” sees sports cooperation as a way of meeting foreign policy objectives as sport can contribute to conflict prevention and management as well as developing civil society structures.
She said the aim of donating the equipment to BAA’s is to improve training environment for recipients. Earlier when welcoming guests at the equipment handover, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) board member, Tjiyapo Mokobi-Mokhosoa, expressed gratitude at the German Government’s assistance in sports development, saying it addressed Botswana sports’ “endeavors of an athlete centric approach” as the equipment will go directly to the athletes.
She said the partnership of the Germans and Botswana goes a long way back as “German experts have previously been seconded to Botswana on various missions in sport, and Batswana coaches and athletes have had the opportunity to grow their knowledge and talent in Germany.’”
“This partnership has seen Botswana sports, more specifically athletics grow tremendously to the point where we can now boast of having a world champion, world junior champion, Olympic silver medalist and numerous African champions,” Mokobi-Mokhosoa explained. She said it is through such support as the one given by the German government to Botswana sport that the country can now also be counted among one of the powerhouses of athletics in the continent. For his part, BAA President, Thari Mooketsi, said he is very hopeful that the cooperation between the Germans and Botswana will grow. The BAA president expressed hope that the Germans will contiunue assisting Botswana with experts as well as with equipment.