Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare is worried and concerned that private companies are not doing enough to support sport. Rakgare said this when giving a statement to parliament on the preparedness of the Olympic team.
“I am worried by the low participation of our private sector in the support of our young people in sport. Despite the offer of up to 20% in tax rebates for supporting sport as per the Income Tax Act Section 51(2) there is very little appetite for it. I want to take this time to encourage the corporate world to invest in our youth. I do not believe that these multi-national companies are running on such thin profit margins that they cannot spare a Pula for sport. The sport industry can contribute to our economy and create jobs with the right investment and management,” said Rakgare.
His colleagues in parliament were also equally worried that more needs to be done. Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse observed that companies make huge profits but they don’t invest in sport. He also noted that sports personalities live a sport life but their lives do not inspire and encourage upcoming athletes to engage fully in sports. He said there is need for big companies to come on board and play their role in developing athletes.
Government has been the main sponsor for Team Botswana through the preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games over the past five years. The Ministry already spent P33.3million on the teams in the past three years. Funding covered athletes’ preparations (training and qualifying for the games), accommodation, flight tickets, athlete welfare and other administrative costs associated with getting the team ready for Tokyo. An additional P7.5million will be spent on the team between now and the end of the Games in August.
“Considering our achievements with the little resources at our disposal, it is my belief and conviction that we can be world beaters if we develop good facilities, introduce sport academics and develop a high performance centre. Sport is an expensive/costly undertaking. However, it not only creates employment for those in the sports industry, but also presents an excellent opportunity for marketing our country,” he noted.
Serowe North MP, Baratiwa Mathoothe was concerned that the Serowe sports complex is not maintained and underutilised and wanted to know whether it is not hampering on athletes development in his constituency. The minster explained that it so not only Serowe that is underutilised but other sports complexes around the country.
He also told Parliament that the school sport system serves as a main development structure for children. “All our national team athletes are nurtured at primary and secondary schools at a young age. We could not have the success that we have without the development work done by teacher coaches. I therefore wish to thank the Ministry of Basic Education and indeed the teachers for their contribution to sport. We are committed to continue to work together to improve the school sport model for the benefit of our student athletes,” he said.
Fourteen Batswana athletes have qualified for the forthcoming Olympic Games and they will be accompanied by eleven (11) officials to Tokyo, Japan. The athletes are Nijel Amos (800m), Loungo Scotch (400m), Isaac Makwala (400m), Anthony Pasela (4x400m), Baboloki Thebe (4x400m), Zibane Ngozi (4x400m), Bayapo Ndori (4x400m), Amantle Nkape-Montsho (400m), Christine Botlogetswe (400m), Galefele Moroko (400m), Keamogetse Kenosi (boxing), Rajab Mohammed (boxing), James Freeman (swimming), and Magdeline Moyengwa (weightlifting). The Paralympics Team consists of three (3) athletes (Bose Mokgwathi, Edwin Masuge, and Gloria Majaga) and two (2) officials.
The Team left for Tokyo, Japan on 3rd July 2021 and is expected to return on 9th August 2021.