Panic over Olympic funds delay

Qualified: Tebogo is one of the local athletes who will be at the Paris Olympic Games
Qualified: Tebogo is one of the local athletes who will be at the Paris Olympic Games

National Sport Associations preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are panicking over the Botswana National Olympic Committee's (BNOC) delays in releasing funds for preparations.

The matter is expected to take centre stage at the BNOC Ordinary General Meeting in Gaborone tomorrow. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Botswana sent a team of 13 athletes from athletics, boxing, weightlifting, and swimming. The team brought a bronze medal won by the men’s 4x400m relay team. The Botswana Boxing Association secretary-general, Taolo Tlouetsile said they have not started preparations for the Olympics due to lack of funding. “The challenge is that the BNOC or the National Sport Commission are silent on the matter. So we cannot make any move without knowing which direction we are going. However, we intended to try our luck at both qualification tournaments,” Tlouetsile said.

Some of the Olympic qualifiers lined up for boxing are the first World qualification tournament set for February in Busto Arsizio, Italy, and the second World qualification tournament is scheduled for May in Bangkok, Thailand. Botswana attended the continental Olympic qualifiers that were held in Dakar, Senegal where they lost. The Botswana Taekwondo Federation public relations officer, Tumelo Mapila said Karabo Zoe is attempting to qualify for the Olympics. He said Taekwondo was sponsored by BNOC to attend the African Championships in the first week of November. “We need to attend such championships to gain points that would place us in a better position for the qualifiers seeding. We are hoping to get confirmation to attend the qualifiers in February 2024, but right now we need to be in training camps,” Mapila said.

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