- Says critical opportunity to identify budding talent is missed
- BNSC says its supports need “to preserve human lives”
Due to the damnable COVID-19 pandemic and on and off suspension of sports activity to curb the disease from spreading, some sporting codes have not returned to the field of play since last April.
Worst for the country is that another tool which has for the longest time been used to develop young athletes in School sports, which serves as a talent pool for further development, is also currently under suspension for what the Ministry of Basic Education attributed to “budgetary constraints” last year.
“If you suspend sports for more than a year, that means the cycle of talent identification and development is halted as the young athletes who were supposed to be identified in that period will miss out,” said sports and science lecturer at UB, Dr Tshephang Tshube, in an interview. “Significantly, if you suspend sports, you suggest to the general public that sports it is not important and can just be paused any time. It trivialises participation in the future.”
According to Tshube, the gap created in identification of athletes due to intermittent suspension of sports means that Botswana may have fewer athletes in the coming years. “And fewer athletes because we did not identify enough lowers our chances of success and even participation in major international competitions,” he noted. “Alternatively, we might identify athletes when they are older. An example is Isaac Makwala who was not identified in junior or senior secondary school. This highly gifted fellow got into the athletics mainstream a bit late and so we did not enjoy him for as long a time as we should.”
Even so, the CEO of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), Tuelo Serufho, was telling the media earlier this week that the mother body of all local sporting codes stands in support of the government’s decision to suspend sports in order “to preserve human lives”.
Said Serufho: “While we understand the repercussions that this will have on those earning a living from and/or pursuing sports for many other reasons, we understand and fully subscribe to the approach of wanting to preserve human lives before anything else.
“To that extent, we wish to record our support of the decision to temporarily suspend sports except for national teams. We will, of course, continue to engage with the relevant authorities. Should all of us agree at any point to modify the status quo, such shall be communicated.”
He added that whenever it may be that suspension of sports is lifted, partially or fully, BNSC guidelines will kick back into effect and national sports associations would have to obtain approval before resuming activities.