The Botswana Wrestling Federation (BWF) has expressed pleasure at the prospect of their sport being part of the 2nd Africa Youth Games (AYG) due to be held in the country next year. Wrestling, which was recently reinstated as an Olympic Sport, was initially provisionally added to next year’s Africa Youth Games as an optional sport. According to BWF President Moagi Sharp said progress is being made to ensure the sport is successfully hosted during next year’s AY Games.
Speaking in an interview in the aftermath of a visit by African Council of Associated Wrestling (CALA) inspector Manie van den Berg, who had come to inspect potential venues for the sport during next year’s games, Sharp said both CALA and the Botswana Africa Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC) have given a green light to the BWF to continue preparations for the sport to be played during the games. According to the BWF President, van den Berg, who is also the CALA Vice President has been impressed with both the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) and the Ditshupo Hall, both identified as potential venues for wrestling during the games. “While there were slight concerns with Ditshupo Hall having no shower rooms and toilets to be used by athletes during the games, we have been told that the concerns will be passed to the relevant people. As for the GICC, van den Berg said it was perfect to host the events as it has all the necessary facilities,” the elated Sharp said.
Another thing which impressed van den Berg about GICC, according to Sharp was that it also has accommodation which can be used by both International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) and CALA officials if they are to attend the games. With the issue of venues now almost sorted out, Sharp said the onus is now on the BWF to make certain that preparations can progress well to guarantee successful hosting. Asked about the capability of the BWF to guarantee successful hosting, considering they have not hosted any event as big, the BWF founding President said ‘both FILA and CALA as well as the BAYGOC have promised to work with and provide as much support as possible to the BWF to ensure successful hosting. Sharp said following the meeting the CALA inspector and the BWF held with the BAYGOC, both the local organizing committee and CALA have requested BWF to list all they will need to host the games. With regards to the actual competition, Sharp said the BWF will be relying mostly on FILA and CALA to oversee the competition.
“We will be relying on them (FILA and CALA) to train our local officials and to oversee how the competition goes during the games as we have never hosted events this big. Our hope is that they will in the process, they will impart on us necessary skills which we can then use to organize our own competitions as well as to organize any future international event we may wish to host,” Sharp explained. Apart from the skills gained, Sharp said the hosting of the event will accelerate the development of Wrestling in Botswana. “During the games, we will be using FILA approved equipment, including wrestling mats. These will remain in the country after the games and we will then use them for our own competitions. This will be one of the greatest legacies of the games as we currently do not have the equipment or the funds to get such things ourselves,” the BWF President explained. Sharp said with the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), to whom they are affiliated, still showing reluctance to meet them half way with such equipment, hosting the games will provide them with an opportunity to get it.
Meanwhile, Sharp said van den Berg, who is also the Secretary General of the South African Wrestling Federation (SAWF), has promised the BWF that his Federation will help them as they prepare for the games. Apart from helping with technical support where necessary, Sharp said this will also include helping train local wrestlers who will be competing at the AYG next year.