Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYESC) has injected P10 million to boost the preparations and staging of Botswana Games. This was revealed by Organizing Committee chairperson, Bobby Gaseitsiwe in an interview with Sunday Standard Sport.
“The ministry has supported us by putting up P10 million towards preparations and logistics to allow the committee to stage a well organized competition”, Gaseitsiwe said. He explained that part of the money will also be used to pay the food and lodging of athletes and officials from the sixteen districts of Botswana. The Botswana Games are Under 20 competitions.
Gaseitsiwe is upbeat that preparations are going well and the districts have been giving positive feedback. “We are on track and we promised to host a big and better event this time around. Some districts are even ahead while others have completed accreditations. Venues have been secured and ready for the games to begin” Gaseitsiwe said.
He explained that the games are important because they will be used by the national sporting associations to select national teams for the next year’s African Union Sports Council ( AUSC) Region 5 Under 20 Games. “Botswana will be hosting AUSC Region 5 Under 20 games and this is a platform for national federations to select national teams that will represent the country. It is also a platform to expose kids to shine on a bigger stage.”
He said the fact that the competitions will be confined to one venue will make it easy for sporting associations to select national teams because there will be less travelling and logistical challenges unlike if the competitions were scattered across the country.
He pointed out that the games are also important because they help build capacity among organizers, officials and referees which will come in handy in other upcoming big competitions.
He added that “the games also come at an opportune time to test the readiness of our facilities/venues prior to the next year’s competitions. Facilities are of top class and not sub-standard hence we expect games to run smoothly” Gaseitsiwe.
Gaseitsiwe said athletes who do well at the competitions stand a chance to be selected into the national team for the 2018 AUSC games. They will also be tutored on life skills and how they should conduct themselves both within and outside sport. This will be done for free in partnership of BNSC and the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of sport. “Athletes will also be drilled on the dangers and consequences of doping in sport and to be always awake to doping and its dangers”, he said.
He further explained that the sport plays important role in boosting the economy of the country. “Small businesses stand to benefit from selling fast food and other small items during the duration of the competitions. This will boost their businesses and help sustain their families and other beneficiaries.”
The Botswana games will be hosted by the City of Gaborone from the 9 ÔÇô 16 December. Over 2400 athletes are expected to take part in the competitions with an additional 150 volunteers and 300 officials. Teams are expected to arrive on the 8th December. University of Botswana has been designated the athletes village. Games will be for free and the public is encouraged to come in numbers to support the competition.