Deaf sport excluded from Botswana Games

Deaf sport wants recognition. PIC: CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Deaf sport wants recognition. PIC: CALISTUS KOLANTSHO

Deaf sport will miss out on the sixth edition of Botswana Games to be held in Gaborone from December 9 to 18.

The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has excluded deaf sport from the programme, which has not gone down well with Botswana Deaf Sports Federation (BDSF) president, Shirley Keoagile.

Keoagile told Mmegi Sport that there was discrimination against the deaf. “I am in the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) board, but I have since stopped attending their meetings because it is clear that my input does not add value. I have tried to fight against this but I lost the battle,” she said. Keoagile also said it is clear the BNSC does not want disability sport to grow.

“How did we come to this? What is their definition of disability sport? What do they mean by inclusion in disability but they do the opposite,” she wondered.

BNSC director-technical, Bobby Gaseitsiwe confirmed that deaf sport has been excluded from the Botswana Games. He, however, said they have included visually impaired.

Cricket and rugby also miss out. “It is only a matter of time that other sectors of sport are included in the games. Our budget is not enough to cover all the sporting codes,” he said.  The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has set aside P12 million for the games.

The University of Botswana would be the games’ village. “Preparations are going well and we have already done eliminations for softball, volleyball, basketball and netball.

The top eight have been selected from the 16 districts,” he said. Gaseitsiwe also said the bi-annual games target Under-19 athletes; both school going and out of school youth. He said they are going to use the games to select a team that will represent Botswana at the 2020 Region V Games to be hosted by Lesotho.

Over 3,000 participants, including coaches and managers, are expected in Gaborone for the Games.  “It would be tough to feed and accommodate such a number.

The last edition was hosted by the City of Francistown and the challenge we had was that the venues and accommodation were far from each other. It was complex to organise but at the same time we must learn that Games can be hosted by different cities.

Gaborone can share with Molepolole,” he said. Meanwhile, Gaseitsiwe said since the inception of the Games, there have been many benefits such as capacity building and officiating.  He added that the Games are being handled by different sporting codes and officiating is top notch.

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