The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, has challenged the country’s junior athletes who will be taking part at the International School Sport Federations (ISF) Athletics Cup to seize the opportunity to impress.
Addressing the student athletes during a routine check up at their camp this past Thursday, Kgathi informed them that doing well at the Athletics Cup, which will be held from the 22nd to the 27th of this month in Czech Republic, has the potential to open doors for them. The Minister informed the young athletes that through sport, they can change their lives and earn a living.
He said with many international scouts more likely to be at the games to check on potential talent, the games will provide an opportune moment for the young athletes to impress and hopefully attract sponsors. He, however, warned the student athletes against signing any form of contract while at the games should anyone come forth with such an offer. He said if such situation should arise, the athletes should forward such contracts to the officials and the local sports’ governing bodies for assistance, adding that this is done to protect them from exploitation.
He advised them that as student athletes, their education has to be taken into serious consideration, hence a need for them to avoid signing anything which may end up jeopardizing their education.
Meanwhile, Kgathi has called upon the student athletes to represent the country very well.
“We are pinning our hopes on you as the youth of this country to represent us well. I am hopeful that you will be in the team that will also be representing the country at the 2nd African Youth Games, which we will be hosting next year,” the Minister said.
On other related issues, Kgathi advised the athletes to restrain from using any performance boosting substances, even going as further as telling them to eat only what is recommended to them by their coaches.
For their part, star athletes Amantle Montsho and Nijel Amos, who accompanied the Minister, encouraged the young athletes to do the best possible and seize the opportunity.
Addressing the athletes, Montsho encouraged them to have self belief and not to be overawed by the occasion. She informed them not to fall victim to stage fright, adding that they should take comfort that they have trained as much as their competitors have.
Amos on the other hand informed the athletes that they are very lucky to have the opportunity to represent the country in such a big international event. He informed them that he never had such an opportunity as the only competitions he did as a student athlete were the Confederation of School Sport Associations (COSSASA) and local meets. Amos said the games will afford the ‘athletes to do it’ on the international arena. Meanwhile, the country will be sending a team of twenty 24 athletes and four coaches to the games. The athletes, twelve junior men and twelve junior ladies are expected to jet off for the Czech Republic on Wednesday and will be expected back in the country on the 28th of this month.
The team will be the first ever from Botswana to compete at the games.