Gov't releases P14.5m for African Games

Boxing is one of the codes that will represent the country in Morocco PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Boxing is one of the codes that will represent the country in Morocco PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Competing at the 2019 African Games in Morocco later this month, will cost P18 million, and the government has already released P14.5 million. The competition, which serves as an Olympic Games qualifier, runs from August 19 to 31 in Rabat.

Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho said thus far the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) has released P14.5 million and they expect the balance anytime soon.

He said for the first time, BNOC is working together with Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to coordinate the team.

“For the first time, the Association of National Olympic Committees in Africa (ANOCA) and African Union Sport Council (AUSC) are delivering the games together,” he said.

Botswana is sending a team of 103 athletes and 37 officials drawn from 10 sporting codes.

Serufho said the number of athletes might change due to various factors, such as injuries.

He said the team would be flying out to Morocco on different dates depending on their competition schedule. He said sporting codes such as judo would fly out before the opening ceremony.

“Other teams are currently training outside the country, with some in Europe. That means they would jet straight to the venue, but those who are in Southern Africa would come here first,” he said.

Serufho said the team is a mix of medal contenders and development side. He explained that some athletes are going to the African Games for exposure, as they are still young.

“They might be the best in their age groups, but we are developing them for future competitions. We do not want to put them under pressure,” he said. BNSC chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo said the teams are expected to arrive in Morocco three days before their events. He said the majority of the team members would leave on August 17 and 19.

“The Organising Committee is grateful that the government has funded preparations for and participation at the games. BITC has sponsored backpacks for the team,” Sedimo said.

The games will see the return of Morocco, who have not competed at the event since 1978.

The African Union (AU), following a long-standing territory dispute over Western Sahara, banned the North Africans from the Games. But the ban has since been lifted.   In 2018, Morocco agreed to step in as hosts after Equatorial Guinea belatedly pulled out over financial problems.


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