• Minister singles out doping as a serious concern
  • Wary of breaking the code against govt interference
  • Athletes ask for timely payment of incentives

Gazette Reporter

Athletes and officials who have been displaying bad and unsportsmanlike behaviour in the course of this year have come in for criticism from the Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture ????, Tumiso Rakgare.

The minister was speaking at a recent victory ceremony of BAA in Gaborone. ‘’Such acts are bringing sports into disrepute and turn sponsors away, and your inaction suggests you are condoning the same behavior,” he said.


“You are forcing us to intervene”
“At this rate, you are forcing us to now intervene and risk being accused of interfering in the affairs of the sport of athletics in Botswana. I know this event was meant to be about celebrations, but we would be deceiving ourselves if we only spoke about success and not touch on some of the issues affecting our sport.”

The ultimate goal of the event was to celebrate the achievements and outstanding performance of Botswana athletes in both continental and international events such as the Africa Championships, the World Junior and Senior Championships and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

But even though the teams did well a number of cases of indiscipline arose and tended to tarnish the good name of the association. In some of the cases, athletes took to social media to openly criticise their organisations over issues such as poor athletes’ welfare and lack of support.


Minister Rakgare said he was disappointed that some officials were also disorderly but the association had not taken any disciplinary action against them.
He expressed concern about “regressing” performance of the junior team and registered strong disapproval of doping.

“I have a serious concern that we seem to be regressing in performance, especially at the World Junior Championships where I had expected a better performance compared to last year,” Rakgare said.

“Then again, we had an unprecedented number of doping cases. We have never had more than one case in a year from athletics but this year we have had two already.
“What are we not doing right to achieve our target of zero adverse analytical findings in our athletes? Are we doing enough education as well as intelligence gathering? Whatever the case, the situation cannot be left to go unchecked.”


“We will improve”
For their part, athletes appealed to their organisations to improve their welfare and to shorten the turnaround period of payment of incentives.

“We have not received our allowances and incentives,” said Tsaone Sebele, who was speaking on behalf of her fellow athletes.

“It’s been months now and this is crippling our progress on and off the field.
“We are pleading with the leadership to always speed up the process in that regard. I must say we have heard the minister’s concerns and will reflect on our behaviour and improve.”