From 2019 to-date, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has spent approximately P20 million on ensuring that more athletes across different sporting codes qualify for the Olympics and on continual training of athletes who have already qualified, The Business Weekly and Review has established.
According to Acting CEO of BNOC, Wedu Moswetla, by the time the Games end, approximately P26 million will have been spent on Team Botswana.
The Olympics will take place in Tokyo, Japan form 23 July to 8 August this year after being rescheduled from winter last year due to the damnable COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked if Team Botswana will have a training camp prior to the Games, Moswetla replied: “I think we are all aware that countries are protecting themselves against exposure that comes with international travellers. This has made it difficult for us to acquire international training camps. But every Olympic Games have what is called pre-Games training camps that are organised within the hosting country for athletes to acclimatise. To that end, some of our athletes will leave for Yokohama, Japan early this month for such a camp.”
Moswetla, who was speaking with this publication on the sidelines of the unveiling of a lucrative Choppies incentive package for Team Botswana, disclosed that local boxers who have qualified for the Olympics will soon leave for a training camp in Russia. “The international boxing body, AIBA, has organised an international camp for boxers in Russia,” she said. “They promised that the camp will be safe from COVID-19 and so our boxers will be a part of it.”
With Olympics qualifications having ended on June 29, Botswana has eight athletes qualified, namely Nigel Amos (800m), Isaac Makwala (400m/200m), Galefele Moroko (400m), Christine Botlogetswe (400m), Amantle Montsho (400m), Keamogetse Kenosi (boxing ), Rajab Mohammed Otukile (boxing) and Magdeline Moyengwa (weightlifting).
The men’s 4x400m will also take part at the Games. Despite qualifying for many events, Moswetla says Botswana’s medal target still stands at two. “We had a target of four medals before the pandemic but we had to reduce our target to two,” she told Business Weekly Sports.
Meanwhile, retail giant Choppies earlier this week announced that it will reward the best performing athletes in Tokyo. According to Choppies Marketing Manager, Katlego Gaborone, athletes who win a gold medal at the Games will receive P1 million from the retailer while silver medallists will receive P500 000, bronze P250 000. Gaborone said members of the relay team will receive similar rewards if they get a podium finish in Tokyo. Athletes who reach the finals are guaranteed P25, 000.
“As the BNOC, and indeed sports, we appreciate every gesture in cash or kind because we depend on the generosity and goodwill of businesses and other contributors,” said BNOC president Colonel Botsang Tshenyego at the launch of the Choppies incentive package.
“While we very much appreciate this gesture, we have engaged Choppies further to try and enter into a long-term relationship that can impact athletes in a more sustainable way, therefore guarantying their performance in the long-term,” he said.