BNOC's Tokyo 2020 SMS campaign targets P2.5m

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Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is targeting P2.5 million for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be raised through an SMS campaign launched at the Travel Lodge on Tuesday. The campaign runs from today until end of August 2020.

A member of the marketing and communications committee, Billy Sekgororoane said the aim is to make sure that the Tokyo 2020 team is adequately prepared. 

“There are a lot of challenges in fund raising.  We know the traditional way by writing letters, which takes time. At first we wanted to go with the 'SMS and win' campaign, but that did not work because we needed to be licenced,” he said. 

Sekgororoane said mobile users are requested to send the SMS ‘Team BW’ to 16789, with each SMS at a cost of P5. 

Launching the campaign, assistant minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Dikgang Philip Makgalemele said advanced preparations are crucial to ensure adequate level of readiness to compete and qualify for the Tokyo 2020.  He said that gives athletes enough time to focus on podium finishes. 

“BNOC did not wait for government funding, but have identified an opportunity through the use of modern technology, not only to fundraise but to connect athletes with Batswana,” he said. 

Makgalemele said he expects Batswana to rally behind the campaign. Botswana has set a target of four medals in Tokyo and to qualify 15 athletes. 

“To achieve that more resources are needed to support the identified pool of athletes who have the potential to reach the podium. Resources are needed to cover accommodation locally and abroad, training, transport and meals,” he said. 

Makgalemele said Olympic Games have restrictions as only companies that would have supported the team’s preparations can publicly congratulate the team.

Meanwhile, BNOC acting president, Tshepo Sitale said their intent is for athletes to qualify for Tokyo 2020 this year and then focus on preparations. 

He said the best thing is to qualify early and have enough time to prepare. 

“After 2016, we engaged with the private sector to initiate the Tokyo 2020 preparations and it was taking longer and had to come up with innovative ways on how to raise capital,” Sitale said.

He said they partnered with VIB Mobile to use the SMS platform where the public can donate and all three mobile providers are onboard. He said the funds raised would go to team preparations and the account would be open to the public for donations.

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