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BNOC lowers Olympics medal target

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Medal hopeful: Amos is the only athlete to ever win an Olympic Games medal PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The COVID-19 impact has forced the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) to revise its Tokyo Olympic Games medal target.

The BNOC had initially expected 15 athletes to qualify for sport’s biggest tournament, and to bring home four medals. However, due to COVID-19 disruptions, the target has been lowered to three. Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Moses Moruisi said they would engage sport codes about the revised target.

“The medals are brought by sporting codes so we want to engage them about this target. The review should be done now at the beginning of the year,” he said.

Regarding budget for preparations, Moruisi said they started utilizing funds before the outbreak of COVID-19. He also said it was imperative, therefore that they revisit the budget looking at the plans that codes have given to the LOC.

Moruisi stated that preparations had been adversely affected by COVID-19. “Preparations started then stopped due to lockdown, started again and another lockdown so they are starting again. These stoppages mean coming up with new plans all the time. There are some qualifiers that were planned for last year but were cancelled,” he said. When asked which codes are expected to deliver medals, Moruisi said they are banking on athletics.

“We could say boxing could also deliver but they have been going through a rough patch in recent years. Even though they already have an athlete who has qualified, we are yet to see how it goes.

Regarding wild card, we are giving other codes a chance to send athletes

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so that they learn how preparations for big games are done,” he said. At the moment, only five have booked Tokyo tickets. Athletes Nijel Amos, Galefele Moroko, Amantle Montsho, Christine Botlogetswe and boxer, Keamogetse Kenosi have qualified. Three athletes from cycling, taekwando and weightlifting are vying for a wild card entry.

Bakang Ebudilwe (cycling), Karabo Kula (taekwando) and Magdelene Moyengwa (weightlifting) are line for the wild card. Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) acting chief executive officer (CEO), Wedu Motswetla said they have received three slots from the Olympic organisers. “The athletes have to compete for these slots with other athletes from the 204 countries.

The BNOC is not the one that takes a decision as to who gets the slot. The organisers would decide.

The wild cards are meant to bring forward junior athletes who have the potential,” she said. Naomi Ruele was allocated a wild card slot at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Moruisi said swimming has been excluded from wild card nominations because they have been given opportunities before. Taekwando coach, Gladys Njoroge was elated that an athlete from their code had been picked for a chance to bag a wild card. ‘It is a sign of greater things to come.

A significant meaning in Africa mostly in Southern Africa were the sport is still struggling in terms of getting results at international level in both men and women athletes,” Njorege said.



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