Gaborone — A total of 53 athletes leave today for Algiers, Algeria to compete in the third Africa Youth Games to be held from July 18-28.
Botswana will be represented in 13 different sporting codes; Athletics, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Taekwondo, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting, Volleyball, Karate, and Swimming.
Speaking at Team Botswana send-off ceremony yesterday, Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Dikgang Makgalemele said the games acted as a trial run for major games such as the Olympic Games.
He said the games gave the youngsters an opportunity for exposure to big stage citing Karabo Sibanda and Baboloki Thebe who have gone through the Youth Games and made it to the senior team competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where they left an indelible mark in the hearts of spectators.
He reminded athletes that they were Botswana's ambassadors and urged them to sell the culture and traditions to their peers.
"Also make friendships, learn other cultures. Show sportsmanship in and out of the field. Wear Botswana colours with pride and represent us well. To the team officials, guide and motivate the athletes to give their best performance," he said.
Furthermore, Makgalemele said government was committed to the development of sport, noting that more resources were required to fully prepare athletes for competitions.
He therefore thanked the private sector for their continued support through sponsorships and encouraged others to join forces with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development in the development of sport. To the national federations, he said when the team comes back they must ensure that they had proper structures in place to ensure continuity and growth of sport in the country.
"Let's nurture this talent by providing appropriate support systems. I want to see more of them in the senior team for the upcoming major games," he said
Makgalemele said there was a lot that sport could offer, adding that it could create jobs for the youth, using talent to earn income, address non-communicable diseases through promotion of active lifestyles, unite communities to rally and support the athletes, thus bringing a sense of pride among Batswana.
For his part, Botswana National Olympic Committee president Botsang Tshenyego said the criterion used to select the athletes were very stringent due to limited resources. He said in the second Africa Youth Games that was hosted by Botswana in 2014, the country fielded 193 athletes in 20 sporting codes, which was the largest in their history for major games.
Tshenyego said the Africa Youth Games, in their third edition was the creation of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa president Lassana Palenfo, and the Games gave an opportunity to young excelling athletes to test themselves against their peers in the continent.
Team Botswana List:
Calvin Bathusi, Larona Mayana, Bernard Olesitse , Phenyo Majama, Onalethata Kgangyarona, Oarabile Tshosa, Tshiamo Hangani, Kebonye Golekanye, Kealeboga Balemogi, Lame Nare, Widzani Mujangi ,Bokamoso Mokgethi, Amantle Never.
Coach: Kago Tladinyane
Godknows Ketlhabanetswe, Sadie Keogotsitse.
Coach: Kandjou Muniovandu
James Freeman, Adrian Robinson, Alora Nkete, Bupe Ruele
Coach Allison La Grange.
Phetso Jack .
Coach: Godirileone Bagwasi
Phadi Babuile, Tema Gwafila, Tumiso Phuthego
Coach : Kgosipula Kaupa.
Lethabo Sekano, Johannes Gustavos, Ronald Jakoba, Onkarabile James.
Coach :George Tshikare
Aubrey Mokgatlhe, Keabetswe Caiphus, Segolame Ranna, Medupe Merafe
Coach : Kabelo Marumo .
Reinet Porogo,Kegomoditswe Letlhatshane, Kene Amantle, Amantle Ogotseng
Nametso Ogaketse, Queen Matlhare, Rodah Lawrence,Desiree Kenaope, Jacqueline Mkandla, Pearl Madakwa .
Letlamoreng Ikaneng, Matlhogonolo Botlhole
Coach: Karabo Moletsane.
Tshepang Kapinga, Brian Galelemogwe, Oteng Letloa
Coach: Healer Modiradilo
Tshepo Mosarwa, Tshegofatso Tsiang, Tsholofelo Tsiang
Coach: Petrus Molefe
Karabo Kula, Tinashe Letsebe, Belinda Mokgosi
Nicole Sebapadi, Magdeline Moyenga.
Coach: Alex Rankgwe.
Source : BOPA