The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has withdrawn funding for boxing, which will affect the local team’s preparations for international assignments.
Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) chief executive committee, Tuelo Serufho recently said IOC withdrew funding to the world boxing body, International Boxing Association (AIBA), with governance issues cited.
Serufho said the IOC was concerned about matchfixing and corruption at AIBA as well.
He said the BNOC has received a letter from IOC advising them to stop funding boxing with immediate effect. “We have only been allowed to complete ongoing projects. If we had allocated money to boxing for talent identification, we can no longer do that. We are saddened by the development,” he said.
Serufho said boxing is one of the strong medal contenders at the Olympic, Commonwealth and other major games. He said that would have an impact on the medal target they have set.
Serufho urged Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) to work with regional and continental structures to address any challenges, to ensure Botswana boxing remains clean.
“After the issues have been addressed we can be able to convince the IOC to reinstate some of the support they have been giving us,” Serufho said.
He, however, said the government and Commonwealth Games Funding (CGF) have not instructed BNOC
He said, following the IOC move, boxing is going to feel the impact when it prepares for the Youth Olympics. “We are worried IOC might kick out boxing. We just hope that it does not come to that point. Boxing should get its house in order,” he said.
Meanwhile, BoBA president, Dr Thato Patlakwe told an ordinary general meeting over the weekend that they are going through a period of uncertainty at AIBA level. Former AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu was forced out of office last year after a $10 million loan from an Azerbaijan company, Benkons MMC, went missing. Despite his removal, the IOC has also raised concern that AIBA new president, Gafur Rakhimov, is linked to organised crime. Rakhimov is the interim leader until AIBA elections scheduled for November.
“As BoBA we will be affected by this decision, which is not our own making. Uncertainty is a situation whereby we lack information about when, how or even why an event has occurred. As a region, we are putting pressure on AIBA management to resolve these issues quickly,” Patlakwe said.