No cash for junior athletics team

Silver and gold I have: The Under-20 athletics team PIC: BNOC
Silver and gold I have: The Under-20 athletics team PIC: BNOC

Despite the brilliant performance of the junior athletics team at the just-ended World Athletics Under-20 Championships, there is no financial gain.

The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) incentive policy does not include junior teams but only the seniors benefit. This means it is now the discretion of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) to decide if the team will be given some incentives or not.

Unlike the Olympics team that was showered with gifts and a welcome ceremony upon return, as the week comes to an end, it was still unclear what was planned for the team. However, it emerged that there was no ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare told Parliament yesterday that there are still to decide on the incentives for the junior team. Responding to a question from Francistown South Member of Parliament, Wynter Mmolotsi, Rakgare said they do not treat junior athletes the same as elite athletes.

“We do not want them to lose focus and kill their confidence. We want them to continue improving. However, we will decide on what we will give them,” he said.

Botswana finished a commendable seventh in the world competition, managing an impressive haul of three gold medals and a silver.

Anthony Pesela won the men’s 400m setting a championship record after clocking 44.58. The feat also meant Pesela has qualified for the 2022 World Athletics Championships to be held in Oregon, USA. Sprint sensation, Letsile Tebogo won a gold medal in the men’s 100m clocking 10.19. He also finished second in the 200m to claim a silver medal with a time of 20.38.

Another gold medal for Botswana came from the men’s 4x400m relay team with a world-leading time of 3:05:22. The 4x100m men’s team was disqualified after a false start.

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president, Oabona Theetso said the plan is to pay a courtesy call on President Mokgweetsi Masisi at the State House. “We are still engaging with the Office of the President. Masisi arrived yesterday from Zambia. Arrangements are being made for the visit,” he said.

Meanwhile, coach Chilume Ntshwarang said the team remains in camp pending the President’s visit, otherwise, they will have dispersed.

Editor's Comment
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