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BNOC plays waiting game

Despite resolve from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is reportedly awaiting an official position on the future of the games.

In Botswana, before the Olympics were moved last year, five athletes had already booked their qualification spot. Christine Botlogetswe, the 400m indomitable runner, Galefele Moroko, the African ladies champion of the 400m race together with the multiple conqueror of the 800m race Nijel Amos and the only female boxer, Keamogetse Kenosi, have all made their grand entry into the Tokyo Olympic stadium.

The quartet was joined by the blooming talent in Thoto Lebang of Judo while 800M veteran runner Amantle Montsho became the last athlete to qualify.The end of the Olympic qualification periods are May 31, 2021 (for 50km race walk and marathon) and June 29, 2021 for all other events.

Qualification starting dates for entry standards and world rankings remain unchanged with many athletes already qualified by meeting the entry standards during 2019.The then Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho said he was glad that IOC had given member states good responses in the face of corona virus.

He was also grateful for the postponement because it gave other athletes ample time to qualify.But as things stand, the current BNOC high ranking administration does not have answers about what will happen next but are said to be in a waiting game.

Wedu Motswetla, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Olympic Committee has not given adequate answers about the future of the games but is hopeful they will have a say in the not so distant future.The International Olympic Committee (ICC) President, Thomas Bach, has said the Olympic Games will go ahead in July despite a State of Emergency (SoE) being declared in Tokyo because of increasing Covid-19 cases.

There have been growing concerns that the games were in peril because of the steep rise in Covid-19 cases and most worryingly, the slow rollout of vaccines. However, Bach was quoted dismissing suggestions that the Olympics may have to be cancelled or moved and said the fact that sporting events have already taken place safely gave him growing confidence.

It is confirmed that while the IOC would not require athletes to have a coronavirus jab, the hope was that as many as possible would receive them in the second or third wave, after high-risk groups had been given vaccines.

We are not in favour of athletes or champions jumping the queue. In the first lines must be the high-risk group the healthcare workers, and the people who keep our society alive, the President said. He further said all 206 national Olympic committees along with the sports federations, athlete representatives and Japanese organisers stood behind the IOC in wanting the Games to go ahead from 23 July.

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