Sunday, May 29, 2022

Has BNOC lost focus?

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are just four months away, yet there seems to be no impetus for Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) with respect to preparations.

Where the BNOC has already announced the Chef de Mission for the Paris 2024 Olympics, nothing is being communicated on the Commonwealth Games, which will be held from the 28th July to the 08th August this year.

BNOC’s silence on preparations has not been lost to sporting codes either. An official from one of the sporting codes says the BNOC is not communicating with sporting codes.

Commenting on the basis of anonymity, the official said they are currently using their annual grants to prepare due to lack of funding from BNOC. To do this, the official says they have had to take some of the monies earmarked for their programmes.

“We are using our grants to help aid our athletes prepare for the CG and it is really straining us financially. We are doing this even though we have not received any official communication to use the grants but we have to prepare time is gone. We have also not received any official statement from BNOC that they have not yet received funding from Government,” he said.

The official however says while they will do their best to prepare athletes, it will be wrong of the BNOC to expect better results while preparations are not so good.

Reached for comment, BNOC business development and strategy manager Baboni Kupe confirmed they have not been able to help sporting codes prepare as they should.

“The BNOC has a robust preparatory plan as it relates to sporting codes ahead of any major. At present however, due to the lack of funding towards the Games, we are currently unable to assist. It is the BNOC’s goal that once received, we shall be able to implement our plan,” said Kupe.

The BNOC business development and strategy manager however says at the present moment, National Federations have indeed begun preparations for the games, albeit at their own cost.

“National Federations have begun their preparations utilising their individual grants that they have received. We haven’t however reached full implementation of our planned preparation schedule, as we are currently awaiting Government funding to mobilise preparations,” she said.

Despite all this, the BNOC says it intends to send twenty-six (26) athletes from seven sporting codes to the games. The codes earmarked include Athletics, Weightlifting, Boxing, Swimming, Cycling, Judo and Squash.

With regards to medal targets, Khupe says the BNOC seeks to obtain at least eight medals from the games, the same target as was set for the previous Gold Coast 2018 games. From the 2018 games, Botswana was able to bring home 5 medals consisting of 3 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze.

“With respect to medals, the BNOC has a target of eight (8), which is an improvement on our previous performance at the last Games held at the Gold Coast,” Kupe highlighted.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper