Pro Boxing Association of Botswana (PBAB) is ready to resume boxing and is putting in place measures to convince the government and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to allow the association to start its activities.
PBAB stakeholders, including the executive committee, promoters, managers, physicians, referees and judges met on the 6th of this month to strategise ahead of planned resumption of activities. For PBAB to commence activities, it will have to satisfactorily fulfill health guidelines as dictated by the government and BNSC.
To be given a green light to resume, affiliates are expected to give expected dates of resumption for all sporting activities along with measures to be put in place to safe guard athletes and general staff from infection.
They are also expected to furnish the BNSC with dates as to when spectators will be allowed to attend the activities, measures to manage/control spectators to avoid infection, plan for regular disinfection of offices, grounds, stadia and courts as well as costs associated with the plan and source of funding.
“BNSC is requesting NSA’s to develop a proposal for restarting sport activities during these uncertain times of pandemic,” PBAB president Tsietsi ‘Shakes’ Kebuwalemang explains.
“This compels us to come up with plans for safe resumption of training and contests. These have to be aligned to those of the AUSC Region 5 countries and the world of professional boxing commissions,” he says.
While acknowledging that COVID-19 is a global pandemic, Kebuwalemang however says life has to go on as the sport is a source of income for both athletes and promoters.
As such, he says PBAB encourages promoters to bid for world title belts, organise national title contests and prepare their athletes. Kebuwalemang says the association is also working on strategies to solicit long term sponsorships.
On his part PBAB Public Relations Officer (PRO) Kenny Maragana says the association would like to acquire spacious halls so that they can be able to adhere to the health guidelines. He says PBAB is also interested in engaging Botswana Television to cover its games so as to prevent spectators from crowding the halls which is against health precautions.
Maragana says the PBAB intends to adhere to the highest cautionary standards which include ensuring that training environments are frequently sanitised, well ventilated and given utmost health attention.
Further to that, he says PBAB has added Corona Virus tests into the list of tests carried out on athletes prior to matches. Professional boxing observes medical examination so boxers and officials go for medical testing yearly.
Over and above this, Maragana says all athletes undergo medical examinations 24 hours before contests. Among the tests undertaken are HIV tests, Hepatitis B and C, Skull neck and chest X-rays and normal examination before the contest.
Maragana urged stables to submit their plans on the 19th of this month (June) for evaluation before they can be given the green light to proceed with their activities.
He says the commencement of activities will be determined by the agreement after the evaluation of stables for the safe return of athletes.
“Professional boxing is guided more by action plan or event plans set by promoters. It is agreed that submissions be availed on the 19th June, and there after, the information shall be dispensed to concerned stakeholders,” Maragana explains.
Meanwhile, the PBAB PRO says while the association suffered due to the COVID 19 pandemic, it cannot stop to mourn lost opportunities.
He is of the opinion that PBAB should rather ensure it is on a good position to move forward ‘in order to advance its course.’
“These are trying times and we cannot approach things like before. We have to find workable solutions in the midst of these times,” Maragana concludes.