The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has received a sponsorship of up to P132 000 towards the National Championships.
The sponsorship, which was launched this past Friday, comes courtesy of Senn Foods Botswana, is expected to run for three consecutive years at the value of P44 000 a year. It will run starting this year and will end in 2014. Speaking in an interview, BAA’s Public Relations Officer, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, said the sponsorship will be exclusively used for prize monies. “This is the first time that the BAA national championships have received such a sponsorship that is exclusively for athletes’ prizes. Though we have had Debswana sponsoring athletics in the past, that money was mainly for athlete development and only a portion was used for national championships prize monies,” the BAA PRO said.
Under the sponsorship, winners in all the categories, save for the relays, will walk away with P1 000 each, while runners’ ups and those coming third will be awarded P600 and P400, respectively.
“Apart from this, there will also be bonuses for national record breakers. Our sponsors have promised that for every national record that will be broken, P5 000 will be awarded to the new record holder,” Ramatshaba added.
For the athletes, Ramatshaba believes the prizes will be motivation enough for them ‘to go all out and win,’ something which may see some of them qualifying for the London Olympics.
Ramatshaba said that, given the incentives for record breakers and the prize monies on the table, a tough quality competition will be expected when local athletes meet during the National Championships, something which he believes will give their new sponsors something to smile about.
On how they managed to net Senn Foods to come on board as their sponsors, Ramatshaba said negotiations had been ongoing for a long time before the company finally decided to come on board.
“Initially, they (Senn Foods) were skeptical but the quality of our athletes convinced them. After they gave Amantle Montsho some money for her performance at the World Championships, we started renegotiating and they finally came on board,” the BAA PRO said.
To give their new sponsors mileage for the monies they are putting forth to athletics, Ramatshaba says the BAA will be putting forth adverts while the stadium that will be used for the National Championships will be decorated with colours of their new sponsors. He says another way to ensure the visibility of the new sponsors will be to keep them hands on during the National Championships where they will be expected to hand prize monies to winning athletes. The National Championships are expected to take place next month in Francistown.