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Gov’t ropes in BAA for constituency athletics

Publishing Date : 19 June, 2017


The Government of Botswana has evaded embarrassment and possible banning from internationally sanctioned games by International Athletics Association Federations (IAAF) by roping in Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) to foster guidance on technical matters for the athletics constituency competitions expected to start next month.

It appears the government has learnt from its past mistakes when the constituency football tournament was first introduced. According to sources, the international body has been watching with keen interest how government would run the newly introduced athletics competitions. The idea, it is said, was conceived mid last year by Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. Had the ministry not brought on board BAA, it would have it from all sides, and would have been accused of political interference, athletics sources allege.

The competitions had to be put on hold for some time while modalities were being set up, WeekendSport has been informed. According to those privy to the facts, the two (the Ministry & BAA) have met on numerous occasions to come up with a template on how to simultaneously run the competition without stepping on the toes of IAAF. The international athletics body despises any meddling of government on athletics activities.

“We also had to work on the modalities of incorporating the new sport code into the already existing one and determine the budget which of course remained the same,” an impeccable source told this publication when asked about other reasons that delayed the beginning of competitions.

Already the technical committee has been formulated, headed up by BAA representatives across various constituencies.  Sources revealed to this paper that Kenneth Kikwe (BAA VP Technical), Gable Garenamotse (Sport Development Officer), Tshepo Kelaotswe and other technical experts within the association will help in the technical affairs of the competitions.

The technical committees have already drafted the rules and regulations of the competitions. The regulations are broken into five brackets (eligibility, registration, entry qualifications and competition attire.) “Registration is for those athletes with 30 years and below. No foreign national will be permitted to register to participate unless if he/she is naturalized. No employees are allowed to register and participate, other than Ipelegeng, Tirelo Sechaba, Herd boys, House Assistants, Farm Assistants and Government Volunteer Scheme,” reads an eligibility part of the regulations.

Some regulations prohibit athletes who are registered and affiliated to BAA to participate. Only teams/athletes that have not competed in the last 18 months for BAA sanctioned competitions will be allowed to register. “No athlete is allowed to register for more than two events unless the other one is a relay,” read article 3.4 or registration procedure. Though sources and relevant authorities could not clearly articulate to this paper the budget for the athletics competitions, millions are believed to have been set aside for the competitions.

Registration for the competitions started on the 1st of this month until the 30th with the competitions anticipated to begin in July until the 27th of August. There will be two cycles in a year.  The competition’s objective is to reach very remote areas where BAA does not always reach and to resuscitate collapsed BAA clubs, talent identification by the national federation. Only football, volleyball and netball had constituency competitions and now athletics, a code carrying the pride of Botswana has joined the bandwagon.



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