Thursday, March 4, 2021

Wrestling Federation unhappy with time frame for spending BNSC grant

While happy with the release of their grant, the Botswana Wrestling Federation (BWF) has expressed disappointment at the time frame it has been given to spend the money.

After struggling to get its annual grant from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) since the beginning of the year, the Federation finally got the grant at the beginning of this month.

However, the federation’s happiness at finally getting their grant was peppered with caution as they were told to spend it within a month or forfeit it.

According to the BWF President, Moagi Sharp, BNSC has given his federation until December 15 to have used the grant.

“As we speak now, I have received another email from the BNSC reminding us that if we have not used the grant within the given time, we will forfeit it. This has put us under pressure to try and use the funds in haste to get what we can within the specified one month time frame,” Sharp explained.

Speaking in an interview, the BWF President said it was for this reason that his federation’s executive was forced to hold an impromptu meeting this past weekend to determine what to do with the grant before they could lose it.

Quizzed on what could have caused the BNSC to release the federation’s grants so late towards the end of the year, the BWF said even he could not think of a reason as to why this has happened.

“This is not the first time that this has happened. Last year, we had a P50 000 grant which was also released in November as is this one. We were then forced to spend it within a month or forfeit it,” Sharp explained.

Coming into this year’s grant, the BWF President said the BNSC had asked for the BWF to give it an audited financial report, something which he said was practically impossible.

“We only had P50 000 as our grant and given our needs, this was very small sum. Hiring an auditor and paying from this very small grant is too much of a difficult call to make,” he explained.
The BWF founding president said rather, it seems the BNSC takes emerging codes or the so-called small codes lightly and undermines them.

“What they do not realise is that the small codes are the most likely to bring this country glory in international games as compared to the more common or established codes. Some countries focus on small codes to get glory and Botswana should also look at this,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Sharp said the BWF executive meeting has decided that the grant be used to buy mats and office equipment for the federation as well as to kick start its programmes.

“We have decided on buying karate mats to use for kick starting our grass roots development programmes. Our expectation is that these mats will be available when we host our coaching clinic on the 30th of this month,” Sharp explained.

The BWF President however said the mats will only be used for training purposes as they do not meet International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) standards, and could therefore not be used in competitions.

He said from the benchmarking undertakings they did in South Africa, clubs are using karate mats for training and the BWF has decided to take the same route given the funds at their disposal.

Asked whether it will not be considered a waste to buy Karate mats instead of FILA approved wrestling mats which the BWF needs so much, Sharp said considering that the mats will be used for training, more especially at the grass roots, the spending on karate mats is by no means a waste.

“We have already alerted the BNSC of our plan and explained the logic behind this. Our intention is that we will then use our next grant to buy ourselves FILA approved mats as well as wrestling rings for competitions,” the BWF President said.

Despite the late release of their grant, Sharp said the grant will go a long way towards growing the sport of wrestling in the country.

He said considering part of the grant will be used to kick start programmes such as coaches development, the grant will go a long way towards the development of wrestling.

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