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Home » News » Sports » No festive for athletes

No festive for athletes

Publishing Date : 09 October, 2017

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Local sports associations have in the wake of Botswana National Olympic Committee’s (BNOC) target of eight medals from the Commonwealth Games next year been forced to reorganize their seasons and plans. All codes are set to start rehearsals instantly to meet the committee’s resolve.


Botswana has won twelve medals at the Commonwealth Games since 1974, with six of those in boxing. Although this country has always participated at the games, the athletes had never brought back four medals from the games until 2010. It was in that same year that Amantle Montsho returned with a gold medal. The graph declined in 2014 despite optimism, particularly after Nijel Amos’ medal (gold) became the only offer on the taking.


As part of the plan to be prepared to bring back the 8 medals, athletes will not go on break this festive. The break, it is said, is one of the contributing factors for ‘reversibility’ in athletes. “We will assess the situation and only give them a day or two to see their families then come back for training,” BAA VP Technical Kenneth Kikwe said. A source close to BNOC offices has also revealed that the idea to not give the athletes a break during the festive will however depend on financial assistance from government.


“The plan is to take the athletes to a place of higher altitude similar to the Gold Coast, and Durban appears to be the potential venue. The team will train there this festive, if things go accordingly and they will get some rest in January before continuing with the preparations,” said a source.  


When asked to comment on the allegations, BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho said: “We are discussing that with sports codes and yes in some cases athletes won’t be breaking for Christmas. It has happened in the past but codes will advise accordingly on that one.”
From athletics, Montsho, Amos, Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, and Karabo Sibanda are some of the faces expected to restore the pride of this nation.


“We are drafting the plan and the expectation is to start preparation early, maybe with the first event by the end of November or beginning of December. We want our athletes to reach their peak as early as March so we stand a better chance of notching medals at the Commonwealth games next year,” Kikwe said. BNOC believes that Botswana has potential to do more than it has in the past. “It is a realistic dream, we have been doing well since 2010 where we produced world class athletes and we are optimistic because even the competition is not as intense as the Olympics,” Serufho said.


While various sporting disciplines are still busy with the qualifications, athletics and boxing are expected to be Botswana’s flag bearers at Gold Coast. Athletics codes have already started preparations for the games slated for April next year. According to Serufho a number of plans are in place to ensure that the target is reached. “We are in constant learning and we are introducing methods that will help us realize the dream. We want top athletes to stay in one area so they can enjoy amenities like dieticians, psychologists etc. which will help their performance at the competitions. Further we are taking athletes for physical tests to Pretoria’s High Performance Centre.”


However, the BNOC is still hoping for financial relief from the government to see through most of their plans. The funds, if received will help all codes prepare for the upcoming games which will start from April 4 through April 15 2018. It is not clear exactly how much would be needed from government coffers, but sources say funds needed run in the millions (BWP) for the preparations.

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