Local National Sport Associations (NSA) has expressed disappointment on the delay of preparations of the highly anticipated Commonwealth Games slated for Birmingham, England in July. This comes after the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) revealed that they are facing a serious financial crisis within the organisation hence the delay on starting preparations for the games early as it is usually done.
Botswana has been given a total of 26 slots for various sport codes to compete at the games including Boxing, Judo, Cycling, Squash, Boxing, Athletics, Swimming and Weightlifting. NSA’s are usually allocated funds months earlier prior to the actual games but this time around they have not been given any required resources and their training schedules have to yet approved despite being two months away. In an subsequent interview with BNOC President Colonel Botsang Tshenyego told Gazette Sport that they are facing financial challenges which has hampered the progress of their preparations and they are working hard on the ground to lure in potential funders.
“Preparations are ongoing not as good as we thought, basically due to lack of funding because the preparations of such games rely on the government funding, and they have not given us anything yet and we understand that they have been under a lot of constraint ever since Covid -19. We are optimistic that in the next coming weeks we will be able to share the budget and the progress concerning preparations. Obviously, every day we are losing momentum for the games, we lose the value that we could have created.
Nonetheless codes have been relying on their federation funding from the Botswana National Sports Commission, and they have started their mini camps and they have submitted the provisional squad list so we are sure that by the time we give them funds they would have made a huge progress,” he said.
The codes have been working hard to prepare their teams towards the games, but they are worried that the time is of essence, and some have already exhausted their coffers because they have other activities apart from the commonwealth games. Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) representative who preferred to be anonymous accused BNOC of negligence and ignorance of codes who have qualified for the games. “They have told us that they do not have money for now and we should be patient with them, this is shocking and unprofessional for a body like BNOC to give such excuses while we are only left with only two months to the games. This is the same body that will be quick to set medal target and pressurise athletes to do well while they were never given enough time to prepare. We have been calling athletes in and out of the camp because we cant afford to keep them for long, we are pleading with the BNOC to up their process of acquiring funds.”
The other representative from Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) said they are hard at work preparing for the upcoming international championships apart from the Commonwealth Games . “We are very busy at our association, our focus is not only on the Commonwealth Games, but we also have the World Championships, Africa Senior Championships and the World Under 20 Championships so we can not wait for BNOC to determine our preparations and some competitions are outside BNOC responsibility. We are working with what we have at our disposal, and we have long started preparations at the beginning of the year,” he said.
Botswana took the world by surprise at last edition of the commonwealth games that were held in Australia winning three gold medals and a silver through Isaac Makwala, Amantle Montsho, 4 X 400m relay team (men) and Baboloki Thebe. Makwala, Nijel Amos, Anthony Pesela, Bayapo Ndori, Kgotla Kgaswane Rajab Mohammed and Aratwa Kasemang have already qualified for the games.