THE vice-chairman of the Botswana National Sports Council, Kagiso Kemoeng, is expected to grace this year's Annual National Sports Awards function at Rainbow Towers in Harare tomorrow. The annual awards gala, which is hosted by the Sports Commission in association with Delta Corporation, is meant to reward and celebrate sporting excellence among the top performing athletes and officials each year.
The Sports Commission's corporate communications officer, Tirivashe Nheweyembwa, said they were expecting the guest of honour, Kemoeng, to arrive in Harare tomorrow from Zambia where he is attending the Zone Six Games.
Nheweyembwa said Kemoeng is not only coming to grace the awards function but they were hoping to take advantage of his presence to learn how Botswana have managed to successfully run their sporting activities, which has seen them making great strides in the development of sport in their country.
"This is the first time we are going to have a guest of honour from outside the country in many years and the reason we chose Botswana is that they are doing well in respect of sport.
"We want them to take us through their experience in how they are investing in sport in their country because we believe our challenge as a country is not how we are performing but it's about the administration side of the issues.
"We would want to learn from Botswana.
"He (Kemoeng) is expected to arrive in Harare on Thursday from the Zone Six Games (in Zambia)," said Nheweyembwa.
Over the years, most of the athletes based outside the country have failed to make it to the gala.
However, the Sports Commission's corporate communications officer said they are hoping all the nominated athletes will be present at the function tomorrow night.
"I can confirm that Nyasha Mharakurwa will be coming for this function but the others are still to confirm. We are expecting them to confirm by the end of the day today (yesterday) or tomorrow.
"There is (female rower) Micheen Thornycroft, (golfer) Brendon De Jonge and (sprinter) Paul Madzivire. We are working hard to ensure that they are all available.
"In the event they are not available we will put other mechanisms in place but our priority is ensuring that they are here for the awards function," said Nheweyembwa.
Swimming icon Kirsty Coventry is the reigning Sportsperson of the Year and is in the running for the Sportswoman of the Year award this year alongside rower Thornycroft.
Thornycroft was one of the few African rowers to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Coventry and Thornycroft will be joined by long distance runners Tabitha Tsatsa, who won several international races including the Steinmetz Gaborone 50km race and the Loskop Ultra marathon in South Africa and Sharon Tavengwa.
Tavengwa made her debut appearance at the Olympic Games and she was the only female from Zimbabwe to have qualified with an A Standard time in the women's marathon.
Faith Nyasango will also be vying for the Sportswoman of the Year award, having finished at the top in most of her races this year including the Westgate half-marathon and the Dr Simon Vengesayi Muzenda Gutu half-marathon.