Recently, the government of Botswana poured out large sums of money into sports in the country.
Close to P64 million was awarded to the Botswana National Sports Council, sports’ governing body, to dispense among its affiliates with P6.2 million of the amount being awarded to the Botswana National Olympic committee. However, some sports codes are still howling about monetary issues. Information reaching the Sunday Standard alleges that Judo is still underfunded and is not being given the means to develop to its full potential.
In spite of its recognition as an Olympic sport, the code is suffering under development in Botswana.
A source within its association has told Sunday Standard that the Botswana Judo Federation’s ‘Judo to School programme’ is in serious jeopardy as the Federation has run out of money.
The programme effectively started in June 2009 and has seen amazing results and interest in schools, so much that there are more schools said to be knocking on the Federation’s doors to present judo, but due to lack of resources, these schools are being turned away.
Although BNSC successfully funded the programme in 2009, Sunday Standard has been informed that as from January this year, the Judo to Schools Development Programme has been self funded by the Federation as the BNSC has yet to approve their funding for this project, notwithstanding the fact that it was budgeted and planned for.
“It is now the end of May and even after numerous letters, phones calls and requests we have made, there is still nothing and our Federation has now run out of money, and this project will have to be put on hold indefinitely,” he said.
It is further argued that should the programme come to an end almost two hundred primary school children will feel the pinch.
Currently BJF has judo clubs at Naledi, Masa and Philip Mosothle Primary Schools as well as the University of Botswana and Stepping Stones in Mochudi.
Contacted for a comment about the alleged situation, BJF President Estony Hattingh shed little light on the status of the programme. She could only note to the Sunday Standard that the ‘Judo to School Development Programme’ is one of their most successful projects to date because not only have they managed to take Judo to the people but because vast improvements are being realized in schools.
“This is one of our most successful projects to date and not only has the Federation taken judo to the people, but the school children have shown a vast improvement in the social, discipline and interaction skills. There is one particular student who has outperformed a lot of the children in the project not only in Judo but also in his school work where he was an underachiever. He is said to be now attaining average scores of 70% in school. We are really grateful to the Botswana National Sports Council for their support in this project and we will endeavour to grow and develop this programme in all areas of Botswana,” she said.
Further, monetary issues seem not to be challenging judo developmental programmes only, but also recently Botswana judoka, Advent Monyatsiwa, whose talent has been recognized by the Japanese community, was sent to Japan where he will be trained for the Olympic Qualification Cycle for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Though the young man is striving to represent his home country, no financial support has been given to him.
Monyatsiwa has been left with nothing but to survive on his own means. Hattingh noted that, as a federation, they have tried all possible ways to find him financial support but faced closed doors all the time.
“It is sad to have sent an athlete to a foreign country to train and the only support we can offer him is moral support. We have another judoka, Thebe Loabile, whom we are also preparing for the Olympic Qualification. Unfortunately because he is in Botswana, he will not receive the desired practice as there is no one on or above his level that he can train against and the African and international training centers all cost money, which we do not have,” she added.