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Organisers admit accommodation blunder

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
UB students were only expected to vacate the hostels yesterday PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Region 5 Youth Games Gaborone 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Labbeaus Peloewetse has admitted they blundered over the accommodation of the athletes.

Athletes from 10 countries started arriving in Gaborone on Tuesday, but were told that the University of Botswana (UB), which is the games’ village, was not ready.

The athletes ended up sleeping in common rooms and buses. Peloewetse told Mmegi Sport that there were challenges such as lack of accommodation for the athletes.

“We had a challenge in getting the athletes into the athletes village located at the UB because the dormitories are still occupied. As of yesterday (Thursday), we were informed that the last batch of students would be vacating the hostels,” he said.

Peloewetse said they would then have to clean the rooms and athletes can only move into the village today (Friday). He said they also had a challenge with processing accreditation for officials and athletes simultaneously, especially when teams arrived at the same time.

“The process was quite taxing because we had to check if the teams were in good standing and they had paid their subscriptions,” he said.

Initially the Games general manager, Steve Bothasitse had said they came up with a plan to accommodate the athletes at Sir Ketumile Masire hospital, where the teams were expected

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to put up last night.

Peloewetse has said the LOC did not have enough time to prepare for the games. He said under normal circumstances, an LOC is given three years to prepare for the Games and his committee had only 18 months.  This is the first time since the inception of the games that a host country faced accommodation challenges.

There were reported clashes between the LOC and other government departments such as the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and Ministry of Trade, which reportedly impacted negatively on the preparations.

“That is why some equipment was stuck at the border. That is a process that could have been smooth if there was cooperation,” a source said.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to officially open the games today at the National Stadium.

Competing countries are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, who will face off in athletics, basketball, boxing, football, judo, netball, swimming, volleyball and tennis are the codes. Netball and football started their competitions yesterday while the judo draw was conducted on Wednesday.



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