Mmegi Online :: Botched trip: BAA, BNSC trade blame
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Last Updated
Wednesday 22 May 2019, 19:50 pm.
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Botched trip: BAA, BNSC trade blame

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) president, Thari Mooketsi has launched a scathing attack on the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) after the athletics team failed to travel to Yokohama, Japan for the World Relays.
By Calistus Kolantsho Fri 10 May 2019, 15:30 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botched trip: BAA, BNSC trade blame








The team was supposed to fly out on Wednesday, but nothing materialised after BAA failed to secure funding.

Failure to travel might see the team fined $21,000 (approximately P210, 000) by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The IAAF fines local mother bodies $1,000 (about P10, 000), for each athlete in the event of failure to attend. Botswana was scheduled to send a 21-member team.

Mooketsi told Mmegi Sport that BNSC refused to release funds for the team to travel.

“This issue is beyond money because that one has fallen off. They plainly refused to fund the team. BNSC leadership does as it pleases. They are sabotaging me because they want to see me fail. It is now personal,” he lashed out.

Mooketsi said the BNSC would have to foot the bill in the event of a penalty. According to the world relays team rules, a penalty of $1,000 per athlete maybe imposed on member federations after having announced through the preliminary entries, their participation in the competition and does not take part.

“BNSC is going to pay that $21,000. It is their fault and we cannot be punished for something that is beyond our control. This is the fifth international competition that we have failed to attend since last year,” he said.

Mooketsi said it saddens him that the team will have to start afresh in order to qualify again. He said the 4x100m relay team had qualified for the World Relays after a lengthy absence.

But BNSC chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo has refuted that his organisation was to blame for the debacle.

“The BNSC was and is still ready to assist. The BNSC was ready to assist them if they had visas

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to enter Japan. The BAA leadership was expected to have applied for visas before noon on May 8, 2019 and could not make the deadline,” he said. Sedimo said the BNSC has nothing against the BAA, adding they treat all National Sport Associations (NSAs) equally.

“We would continue to have a harmonious relationship and expect them to have a harmonious relationship and expect them to comply the same way we expect other NSAs to. Where there is need to short circuit the process, such would be considered depending on circumstances,” Sedimo said.

He stated that like any other organisation, the BNSC works on budget and when one sport code has exhausted their allocation that marks the end of their activities.

“Do note that there are times we go beyond practice and procedure to help where there is need even when the grant from government would not have been received, and BAA has benefited from such arrangement,” Sedimo added.

Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Kago Ramokate said they are aware of the differences between BNSC and BAA. 

He revealed that his office is waiting for a report detailing what transpired.

“We are meeting them next (week) to determine what happened,” Ramokate said. According to information reaching this publication, IAAF had offered to refund four tickets in a team of six.

Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe and Nijel Amos are already sponsored under the Olympic Solidarity Fund. When the team competed in the 2017 World Relays, it finished second. The team pocketed $30,000 (approximately P300, 000) for their participation in 2017. Meanwhile, the BAA has called a press conference this afternoon, to clear the air on the matter.

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