Botswana Olympians dumped and stranded
- Living under unprofessional conditions, athletes have to feed and transport themselves
- BAA cites lack of funds
Gazette Sport has unearthed startling information revealing that some athletes who were part of Team Botswana at the Rio 2016 are living under deplorable conditions not suitable for a professional athletes under the guise of being “in camp.”
After receiving a tip off from a well placed source at Botswana Athletics Association(BAA) Gazette Sport carried out an investigation which revealed that BAA and BNSC dumped athletes who were in need of accommodation at Athletes Villages. “When two elephants fight it’s the grass that suffers, I’m afraid this tag of war among BAA executives has left athletes to suffer the most as they are being neglected” an insider and BAA told Gazette Sport.
The investigation prompted this publication’s team to invade the ‘Athletics Village’ coming up with evidence that athletes were living under deplorable conditions.
The athletes do not have basic living allowances as compared to other sporting codes such as football, this act has left athletes to scavenge for themselves for basic human needs such as food, clothes, transport to training grounds and a roof over their heads, all in the name of passion.
An insider at BAA has cited few incidents where athletes had to dig deep in their own pockets to finance themselves for the transport fare to training as well as feeding themselves. The athletes are not allowed to cook their own food but they have still been denied a regular supply of food as per the original agreement.
As a result they find themselves ingesting food that is not suitable for athletes in order to curb their stomach rumblings, in some instances they resort to eating a meal consisting of bread, Atchar and soft drinks.
Gazette Sport actually attended one of the off season training sessions of athletes at the National stadium. On arrival this reporter managed to interact with the team led by Mogomotsi Otsetswe and we had a conversation with him in regards to his team’s preparations ahead of a very busy season ahead. He said, “my team is preparing very well. The main goal is to send more athletes at the upcoming world championships and help them clock good times.”
Contacted for comment the secretary general of BAA Kebaitse Legojane, gave a totally different view of the situation stating that at this particular time they have not selected the national team for the upcoming competitions. “The season is about to start, athletes are at their respective clubs therefore we will only select the national team based on performance at club levels,” said Legojane.
When asked about his knowledge about the living conditions of some athletes he said that due to a long list of individuals they cannot keep track of all athletes’ whereabouts but however he did confirm that some athletes are accommodated at Athletes Village in Gaborone. This publication pressed the secretary general with questions that affect the association’s continuity towards 2020 preparations and he defended the association stating that they do not have funds to sustain themselves until the next Olympic games.
When reached for comment Sport Development Director at BNSC Bobby Gaseitsewe acknowledged that they have indeed received a request from BAA to aid some athletes who where failing to attend training session due to lack of accommodation. “BAA approached us as BNSC to accommodate their athletes because they experienced shortage of accommodation and we took a decision to accommodate them at our Athletes village . As the governing body we always respond the best way we can to all request by various sporting codes, because at the end of the day these are our athletes,” said Gaseitsewe.
This publication contacted Sports and Exercise Psychology Lecturer at the University of Botswana Dr Tshepang Tshube to give his professional opinion on how living conditions affect the performance of an athlete prior to season’s preparations and his comment was that, “athletes’ living conditions play a crucial role in thier general well-being and athletic performances in preparations for the games. The most conducive living conditions accords athletes the right meals in the right period, the right athletic gear and training facilities. These athletes exclusively focus on their sport, particularly preparations for the games. The most successful athletes are developed in the most conducive environment. If these conditions are not met, athletes experience what is called “psychological distractions”.
“Athletes gets distracted from sport to something different (physically and mentally). For example, lack of meals leads to athletes being distracted from focusing on the sport but addressing the basic needs (e.g., meals). It is therefore fundamental that their basic needs are met at all times,” Tshube concluded.
Upcoming events in this year’s calendar include, World Athletics Relay Bahamas (22-23 April), National Athletics Championships (13th May) , IAAF Youth Championships: Nairobi, Kenya (2 – 16th July 2017), and the biggest in the calender the IAAF World Athletics Championships; London, (4th – 13th August 2017) just to mention a few.