The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) has injected P410,000 towards the Gaborone International Meet (GIM).
The sponsorship deal was announced at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng on Tuesday. This year's GIM would be held at the National Stadium on April 27. Speaking during the launch, GIM general manager, Kitso Kemoeng said the funds would go towards appearance fees and prize monies. The sponsorship is an increase from last year's P50,000.
“The gesture has since attracted local elite athletes and international athletes from Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa,” he said.
Kemoeng said the event, which is in its third year, is a platform for athletes to either qualify or prepare for major international competitions such as the Olympics, IAAF World Championship and the Africa Championship.
The next World Championship would be held on September 27, 2019 in Doha, Qatar, while the Olympic Games are next year, which, Kemoeng said, make this year's GIM an excellent platform for athletes to prepare for the events. Kemoeng said the meet comes on the eve of the Doha Diamond League and it is going to be the final test.
GIM director, Glody Dube said the event continues to face a challenge of attracting spectators to the stadium. He said as part of requirements, IAAF expects the stadium to be full on the day of the event.
“We are working with organisations such as Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) to come up with ways of attracting students to the event. We can even decide to give students free access to the event.
It is all about getting good numbers,” he said. Dube said as a growing meet, they are not yet in IAAF rankings. He said it would take hard work for GIM to be in the ranking category. He said sponsorship is also a challenge but receiving MYSC sponsorship is a major boost.
“We are going to do things differently this year. For the first time ever, we are going to have time bonuses,” he said. The event is divided into premium, classic and promotional events.
Prize monies break down: Premium costs $1100, $900, $500; Promotional at $500, $300 and $200 while Classic is $900, $500 and $400. Time bonuses: Premium $500, Classic $500, and Promotional $500.