The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Communications and Marketing Manager, Boniface Mabeo, has said that the arrival of Choppies Super Stores in local sport marks a new and good beginning for sport in the country.
The local chain store, which is the largest in the country, has put on the table the largest ever incentive package for local athletes competing on the international arena.
The package, which is worth USA $1.2 million (+/- P8 million Pula) will see athletes being generously rewarded for performing well at the London Olympics, which are due on the 27th of this month (July).
Under the package, which was announced by Choppies Super Stores Marketing Manager, Oitsile Marole, athletes who will get gold at the Olympics will be given US $100 000 (+/- 750 000 Pula) while silver and bronze medalists will be rewarded with US $50 000 US and US $25┬á000, respectively.
Apart from the medal categories, local athletes who make the finals or semifinals of the competition will be given US $10 000 and US $5┬á000, respectively.
Speaking in an interview, Mabeo said the incentives will help motivate athletes and will define the way upcoming athletes view sports. According to the BNOC Communications and Marketing Manager, the incentives will go a long way in showing local athletes that their selfless sacrifices to promote the country in the sporting arena are acknowledged.
“This will go a long way to show young and upcoming athletes that they can use their sporting talent to earn a living whilst also motivating other members of the private sector to get involved in sport,” Mabeo said.
He said that while they are very happy with the gesture by Choppies, what makes them even more hopeful is that the company has shown keenness to partner the sport in future.
“As BNOC, whilst we are happy with what we got, we are also keen on developing long term partnerships which will ensure that our success does not end with the current crop of athletes,” he said.
In what may now sound a prophetic word at the launch, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC), Peter Mongwaketse, lauded the move by Choppies, saying it signaled the dawn of a new era in local sports where the private sector partners the government and sporting codes to develop athletes.
Barely a week since the MYSC Deputy Permanent Secretary’s speech, the BNOC is set to announce another major sponsorship this coming Tuesday. The sponsorship, which is expected to be the biggest and longest partnership of its kind aimed at developing elite athletes, is expected to be over four years, leading to the Rio 2016 Olympics. The yet to be launched partnership, which is rumoured to be by one of the largest diamond trading companies in the country, comes barely a week after Choppies put on the table the biggest incentives ever for local athletes who will win medals at the upcoming London summer Olympics.
While the BNOC is still cagey with details and names of the sponsorship pending the Tuesday launch, Mabeo said the sponsorship will ensure promising local athletes are properly developed.
“As the BNOC, we have an athlete-centric approach to sports and whatever we get from sponsors is towards developing athletes, whether it be sending athletes to High Performance Centers across the world or building a High Performance Center of our own,” the BNOC Communications and Marketing Manager said.
He added that the gestures by Choppies and the imminent new sponsor will go a long way in ensuring that the country’s supply of winning streak is sustained well beyond the era of the current stars like Amantle Montsho.