- Henceforward athletes will receive monthly upkeep fee when they qualify for the Olympics
- But athletes will have to submit to a BNOC schedule
For the first time ever, athletes across sporting codes will be rewarded for qualifying for the Olympics, Gazette Sport can reveal.
According to information reaching this publication, this is the result of a series of meetings between the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC). Even so, the brass tacks of how much to pay the athletes have yet to be worked out.
Gazette Sport made this precious discovery in the course of an interview with the Chief Officer Executive of BNOC, Tuelo Serufho, regarding what was being done about boosting the morale of athletes as the clock ticks to Tokyo 2020.
The answer was that athletes would receive “an upkeep fee” every month from the time they qualified to the beginning of the next Olympiad. According to Serufho, this should have a domino effect and motivate even those who have not qualified to do so. But there will be stringent rules, key among them being athletes submitting to competition schedules drawn up by BNOC and their respective National Sports Associations (NSAs) prior to the Olympiad in sight. “This is because we have realised that some athletes have such hectic competition schedules that by the time the targeted tournament takes place, they are too fatigued or even injured to be of any good for their country,” Serufho explained. “But it must be understood that we won’t stop any athlete from entering competitions. We will draft our schedules but the athletes will have a say.”
After Botswana won its first-ever Olympic medal at London 2012 with Nijel Amos’ 800m silver, the hopes of the nation to repeat the feat at Rio 2016 proved in vain, thanks mainly to injuries and fatigue that were blamed especially for the men’s 4x400m team that many had believed had an edge over most of the rest. In the event, the Botswana team finished fifth in the finals with key members in Baboloki Thebe and Nijel Amos owing to injuries. Amos also failed to impress in his individual race due to injury.
Meanwhile, BNOC intends to improve on London 2012 by bringing home two medals from Tokyo 2020. But so far only three athletes in Amos (800m) and two women, Christine Botlogetswe (400m) and Galefele Moroko (400m), have qualified for the Olympiad that will take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.