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Olopeng to announce Olympics team

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Thebe
The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) will tomorrow commemorate the Olympic Day at the National Stadium. It will be the first time the event is held in Gaborone after many years.

The main item for the day is the minister of youth, sport and culture, Thapelo Olopeng’s announcement of the Rio 2016 Olympic team.

For the first time in the history of the Olympics, Botswana is sending a large contingent to be accompanied by eleven officials.

Athletes will be joined by a judoka and a swimmer who will come in through wild cards.

All athletes who have booked themselves a ticket to Rio will be present except 800m runner, Nigel Amos and 400m runner, Isaac Makwala.

The two are engaged in another competition in London.

The ministry of youth, sport and culture proved their intention of supporting the team as they released funds for its preparations on time.

“This time around the government was supportive. We received funding for preparations on time,” said Botswana National Olympic Committee chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho at a media briefing this week.

He said going forward, the idea is for the funds to be released four years before the games.

He said the minister is expected to announce the incentives for the team.

Serufho said athletes should know what is at stake before they travel. Retail giants, Choppies pledged cash prizes of P1million to winning gold while silver gets P500,000 and P250,000 for bronze.

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P75,000 is reserved for an athlete who reaches the finals.

“The incentives are meant to encourage athletes to give their best. They are not meant to put them under pressure. We encourage the private sector to come on board and make pledges,” said Serufho.

He said the government also has set its own incentives for athletes who perform well at international competitions.

Meanwhile, Rio 2016 chef de mission, Moses Moruisi said it was impossible for former 400m runner Amantle Montsho to be included in the team.

“Montsho’s name can’t fly. She has completed her suspension, but she still has a lot of processes to undergo. After the completion of all the tests that is when she can be cleared to compete,” he said.

Moruisi said the plan is for the athletes to beat the London 2012 record where Amos won silver and bring more medals.

He said that is possible hence they do not want to set a medal target.

Judo will be represented by Gavin Mogopa in the Under 60 category. Mogopa accumulated more points in his category to get recognition under the wild card. 

Another judokata, Thato Lebang failed to qualify. President Ian Khama will host a send-off ceremony for Team Botswana on Monday.



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