Strict conditions for Region 5 Games

Raising the bar: Action from the 2018 Region 5 games PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Raising the bar: Action from the 2018 Region 5 games PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has come up with strict conditions for the National Sport Associations (NSA) sending teams to the AUSC Region 5 Games to be held in Lesotho in December.

The BNSC has released a budget of P12.5 million for the Games. Addressing the media this week, BNSC chief executive officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho said the main condition that NSAs have to fulfil is to demonstrate that they have plans for the team beyond the games in Maseru. Botswana is sending a team of 177 athletes who would be selected from athletics, athletics for the visually impaired, basketball, boxing, football, judo, netball, swimming, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball.

The team has fewer representatives than from the last two competitions hosted in Angola and Botswana respectively, where the country had more than 200 athletes. “We are moving away from an era where regional games can just be an era or a project by themselves, to one in which regional games are but a part of a long-term project for success at an international level,” Serufho said. He said, in that way, it would not seem like they are starting from scratch every time they have to prepare for major competitions such as the Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth and African Games. “This way, every thebe that we spend in team preparations would take us further than it did in the past. We could expect results to turn for the better,” he said. Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) president, Oaitse Thipe said he was unaware of the new conditions set by the BNSC.

Thipe said after Region V Games, they are heading to Namibia for an International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in January. Africa Junior Championships would follow the tournament. He said the players are part of the revamped men's and women's teams for next year. He said the team that BTA is sending consists of young players who are under the BTA Long Term plan. The team consists of Denzel Seetso, Mark Nawa, Ekua Refilwe Youri, Chelsea Chakanyuka and Naledi Chabuya Raguin. “These players are all under 16 years and our plan is to have their international rankings improve so that they could play junior Wimbledon in the next few years. Chakanyuka and Raguin are based in France and the US, but we are planning for them to play some International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments in Pretoria later this month,” Thipe said.

Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) public relations officer, Abaleng Lesego said they had, together with the medical committee prepared the return to play guidelines, which were presented to the BNSC and had been given the green light. “We were given the go-ahead to returning to basketball. We have considered the national team to trial the return to play in order to ensure compliance and that all the policies that we have been putting in place are feasible and doable,” she said.

Lesego said they are working on getting the team into camp although there have been budget cuts. Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) vice president, George Keotsenye said they have made their submission to the BNSC. “Basically, it is explained by our Long Term Athlete Development Plan. Remember, we are one of the first NSAs to have that plan cascaded to,” he said. Keotsenye said the difficulty with them is not so much the plan, but rather the resources needed to implement the plan. “Would the federation get enough resources to implement it going forward?

The investment in sport is really at a minimum at this point in time. Corporates are not making any investments in that area. Investment is badly needed in our sport to go back to where we were in the continent,” he said.

Editor's Comment
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The government has without a doubt come up with good initiatives such as partnering with private medical practitioners in the vaccine roll-out. This was indeed a welcome development that reduced congestions at government vaccination centres.Well, unfortunately, the celebrations were short-lived. People flocked to the vaccination centres in large numbers and most of the private clinics are currently left with no vaccines and unending telephone...

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