Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Phillip Makgalemele yesterday reproached the private sector for not assisting sport development in the country.
Makgalemele was speaking at the SMS Donation campaign launch by the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC). The SMS donation campaign is geared towards gathering funds to support local elite athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. According to Makgalemele, the private sector has a consistent tendency to only assist athletes when they have emerged victorious at various international competitions. He says that the preparation phase is a lot more important than post-competitions results.
Makgalemele says that Olympics have restrictions therefore only companies that have contributed in helping building athletes are allowed to celebrate excelling athletes publicly. “Everyone should start now at helping the athletes for the 2020 Olympics, we must all demonstrate commitment towards the team because it is the right thing to do,” urged Makgalemele. The Shoshong legislator, who was the guest speaker at the launch further said that if all Batswana and the private sector could come on board, resource needs would be easily covered.
“We know of how our athletes suffer at preparing for events, we are currently focusing on getting some of them to qualify but that will need a lot of resources planted into their preparations. There are more resources needed to cover for accommodation locally when they prepare, there is a lot of resources and funds needed for travelling costs and good nutrition that requires all of us to put our hands together,” he said.
“I have no doubt that if all people including the private sector could join hands in this campaign we would prevail. I have seen it happen with the University of Botswana, Batswana joined hands and built the university through the motho le motho kgomo campaign,” Makgalemele stressed.
According to BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho the target for the campaign is P2.5million. He said that the money would be accounted for through a public audit system.
Local boxers ready for regional tourney
Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.
The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.
Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.
For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.
He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.
According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.
Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.
Branch does it again
Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.
The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.
At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.
Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.
Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.
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