Funds to aid Olympics Preparations
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has received a whooping P2.5 million to use towards the preparations for the upcoming 2020 Olympic games.
Botswana have only three athletes who have qualified for the games being Nijel Amos for 800m,Christine Botlogetswe and Galefele e Moroko for the 400m.
However with the athletics season currently on break (off season) BAA is running agaisnt time to make sure they qualify as many athletes as possible with the deadline set for June 29 next year.
According to BAA president Botlhale Phaphane, they have many activities lined-up to prepare the already qualified athletes as well as to help more to qualify. With the season expected to start early January, BAA will have to take advantage of many competitions around the world to help more athletes qualify.
“The preparations are going on but rather at a slow pace. In November we took a break so that the athletes can rest after a lengthy season which ended in October. We have planned on a training camp from December 9 and then break up for Christmas. With this camp we are planning to put in a good number of athletes because many of them are about to qualify. Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) gave us P2.5 million but due to our hectic plan we will have a balance of less than P500, 000 by end of December,” he said.
Phaphane said the funds are not enough and hence they have requested for an additional P5 million from Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) which will be used from next year up until the games.
However though the BAA leader says they will seek some additional funds from the BNOC this comes at a time in which BNOC is no longer in charge of the funds from the government since it’s the BNSC now who controls the funds.
As of now BNOC is currently struggling with their SMS Donation campaign which has still not gained momentum though it was launched to raise money close to P2,5 million for the games and preparation .
Though international camps are always a costly exercise, the BAA has planned to train the athletes in Malaysia and Japan before the start of the games next year.
National team coach Justice Dipeba is of the belief that time is already lost but much work can still be done.
“We have ran out of time but it is still possible to qualify more athletes if we can hit the ground running at the beginning of the year because that’s when they will be more competitions before the closing date for qualifications. It will be great to make sure the team stays sharp, have all personnel on the ground so that we can make sure that all issues are addressed well in time. I would like to move the team to a place with similar or closer conditions as Tokyo so that we can prepare under the same conditions. Athletes need quality competitions which will qualify them for the games,” said Dipeba.
Zibani Ngozi, Ditiro Nzamani and Leungo Scotch are some of the promising athletes who are likely qualify.