- But more funding needed for apex tournament and other activities
- BCF looks to new minister to end anomaly of constant grant
Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) will face financial challenges this year because much of their funding will be channeled to the Chess Olympiad 2020 that is scheduled for Moscow from 1st to 15th August, BCF president Motlhokomedi Tlhabano, has said.
The biennial competition is where the best chess players from around the world fight for supremacy. In an interview with Gazette Sport, Tlhabano said the competition will take a toll on this year’s BCF finances.
“During the Olympiad year, we struggle financially,” he noted. “That is because sending a team to the Olympiad is expensive, looking at things like team preparations and travel and accommodation. This year we also want to engage a grandmaster from Russia to help us prepare our team ahead of the Olympiad. That means seeing to his or her expenses in Botswana, including a salary. A lot of money is used during an Olympiad year.”
Tlhabano pointed to an anomaly of the BCF grant from the Botswana National Sports Commission that remains constant at P500 000 per annum even during an Olympiad year. “But this time around we are optimistic that the new minister will be persuaded to make a separate funding for the Olympiad, which is what happens with other codes,” he said.
Turning to the game of chess itself, Tlhabano said he is confident that the players will improve on their stellar performances of 2019 because the federation has more licensed coaches now after a FIDE training seminar in December last year. “They will help in developing top notch players across different regions,” he noted. “To have competent players, you have to have qualified officials. With these coaches, we should achieve more this year.”
Meanwhile, BCF will start its 2020 calendar with the Air Efficiency Year Opener Tournament at Legae Academy in Gaborone this weekend (January 25).