Golfer misses out on Zebra fund

Hitting a bogey: Smith has missed out on Zebra funding
Hitting a bogey: Smith has missed out on Zebra funding

Botswana’s number one tour professional golfer, Stuart Smith has lost out on the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Zebra Athlete’s Fund due to his performance.

The Botswana Golf Union (BGU) vice president, Mpho Kelosiwang told Mmegi Sport that the BNSC turned down the application citing the performance of the golfer.

The objective of the fund is to assist identified groups of athletes with special training programmes to enhance their potential. The fund also covers preparations for international competitions in respect of approved programmes for identified athletes.

Kelosiwang said the BGU made an application to the BNSC for Smith to be considered for the fund, but they were turned down.  The player reportedly requires P300,000 per annum for the tour professionals.

Despite that, Kelosiwang said even if he were successful the funding was not going to be enough to assist Smith.

He said they intend to continue pursuing the BNSC regarding funding for Smith, but the golfer should prove himself first.

He said golf must not be compared to other sporting codes such as athletics. He said in athletics, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) provides more assistance than BNSC for international appearances.

 “Right now there is no government in the world that is supporting golf because it is expensive. Even in developed countries such as South Africa, the sport is supported by the private sector,” he said. Kelosiwang said BGU is not focusing on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where golf would be played for the first time, but rather on other programmes to grow the sport.

Meanwhile, BNSC chairperson Solly Reikeletseng said it is the responsibility of affiliates to submit the names of the athletes who qualify for the fund to the BNSC office by the end of every August.

  “It is not our mandate to interfere in the process, even if we see that an athlete deserves the fund.  The affiliates know their athletes better,” Reikeletseng said.

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