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Local athletes snub IWG conference

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Local athletes never really pay interest to such events – IWG SG

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Local athletes have been accused of showing less interest in sporting events geared at educating and increasing athletes’ awareness on issues happening in sports, such as the recently ended Africa Women in Sports Conference, which a large number of local sporting personalites snubbed.
In 2014, Botswana won the bid to host the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport World Congress in 2018. In building up to the event, the country was then further given the honours to host this year’s Africa Women And Sports Conference.
A key importance of hosting such occasions would come in local athletes and sports administrations enjoying benefits like interacting with some of big names in the sporting world, which would go a long way in helping the growth and development of local sports personnels, regardless of the benefits, it came as somewhat of a surprise as a good number of local athletes opted against showing up for the event.
IWG Botswana Secretary General Game Mothibi told Gazette Sport that invitations were sent across all stakeholders with the inclusion of athletes to attend the continental event, which saw the likes of South Africa’s Gold Olympic Medal winner at the 2016 Rio Olympics Caster Semenya and former SA paralympian Natalie Du Toit present.
“We made it open to everyone, to the athletes, administrators and technical teams. We then posted on Facebook, and followed it up with individual letters to all the sporting codes, but a lot of them (Associations) did not bring athletes,” said the IWG Secretary General.
She added that locals, especially females missing a conference of such magnitude was a ‘let off’ as fellow female African athletes shared the stage to describe some of their experiences in the sporting world.
“The importance is huge, just look at it, one of the athletes had to go on stage and share some of her experiences. It was mostly about a female child who is playing sport learning on how she is suppose to be treated, and what is abuse, and what kind of support I can receive as a female athlete, and this is the reason why they have to be part of the 2018 conference. If associations did not thoroughly encourage athletes to attend this event, it is a must they do for 2018,” she carried on.
“One problem we have is that our athletes never show interest in attending these events. Every time there are workshops or conferences they hardly come mainly because they feel that they are athletes within their playing fields, and forget that they have lives to live outside the field of play, which is where we come in, to show them, this is the kind of life one is supposed to live outside the field of play. Generally in Botswana our athletes lack in that aspect, they (athletes) only focus on their sporting careers and nothing more,” Mothibi concluded.
Chairman of the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Solly Reikeletseng also assured the rest of the African continent that, come 2018, Botswana will be more than ready to host IWG World Conference.

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