Sunday, September 20, 2020

Olympics team needs the honour they deserve

We join the nation in wishing our sports representatives luck at the London 2012 Olympics.

Oteng Oteng, Isaac Makwala and Nigel Amos jetted out of the country for the United Kingdom on Friday where they will join Amantle Montsho and Pako Seribe who themselves have been in Senegal preparing for the Olympics.

These Olympics ambassadors will be raising our flag high and without doubt, they deserve to be accorded the utmost care while in London.

While we may have high hopes as a nation for our ambassadors to bring medals home, we should not falter in our support when our sports representatives do not deliver on our expectations.

We should unashamedly┬áderive comfort from the knowledge┬áthat while a win is everybody’s desire in sport,┬áour presence at the Olympics is by no small measure a way of marketing our country to the rest of the world.

A New York Times journalist wrote a beautiful story recently about Amantle and her origins. It is the story of a girl who comes from an area of tourism attraction but has to travel to the capital city, Gaborone, for training facilities.

The nation has a lot of expectation from the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), which sadly does not have a readily accessible website for citizens residing in London who may wish to send messages of support to our team.  

It is not an exaggeration that judging by Montsho’s performance lately, there exists a high possibility that Botswana may bring a gold medal from the London 2012 Olympics. Our gold medal holder wonder girl has lately been on a winning streak not by luck but hard work.

By the same measure, we hope that the BNOC have done their home work thoroughly so that our country can add to the achievements made by Montsho and not wish to see medals they themselves never administratively worked hard for. The last thing we need from the BNOC is for our team to endure a fate similar to that which our ill-fated Zebras have come to deal with on many occasions at the hands of the Botswana Football Association.

Our government, the private sector and sports associations cannot, at the moment, lay a legitimate claim that they have adequately contributed enough for sports development in this country to the expectations of the nation.

The Botswana Football Association and the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, who still offer answers as to why we failed to benefit from the 2010 Football World Cup hosted next door, have performed below the expectations of Batswana. Sadly, no one at the sports associations and the Minister responsible ever want to be accountable for any embarrassment suffered by our national teams and sports loving Batswana.

While we are at it, may we remind those who were charged with preparations for the World Cup that we still demand answers from the audit to look into why Botswana failed to benefit from the football event?

Two years down the line we still sit with incomplete stadia which were refurbished particularly for the World Cup and for Minister Shaw Kgathi, it would appear, it is business as usual.

To us, this is not business as usual ÔÇô we remember the clash for the University of Botswana stadium which itself points to a country without enough sport facilities.

To the Olympic team we say: Bring those medals home; we know you can do it.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.