Gaborone — Government has budgeted P12 million to aid Team Botswana's preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This was revealed by deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Bruno Paledi during a breakfast meeting in Gaborone yesterday.
Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has collaborated with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and Botswana Tourism Organisation with the aim of setting up a Botswana house at the Tokyo Games.
Paledi said the money was meant to prepare qualifying athletes.
He said the money was also meant to keep qualified athletes in good shape for the competitions.
Furthermore, Paledi said more funds would be availed in the coming financial year.
He, however, appealed to the private sector to help government in ensuring that Team Botswana was fully equipped for the 2020 Olympics.
BITC chief executive officer, Keletsositse Olebile said the hospitality house that would be set up in Tokyo would enable the creation of global awareness about Botswana. He added that they found it prudent to support the setting up of the house at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
He added that his organisation's mandate included investment promotion, export development, promotion, the running of service centres and nation branding.
Olebile further added that the nation branding mandate dictated that his organisation should seek appropriate platforms to promote and create awareness about Botswana.
"It is against this backdrop that when BNOC knocked on our doors for us to collaborate on the Botswana house, we acceded to their request," he said.
Furthermore, the BITC CEO noted that Japan had a population of about 126.8 million, and that setting a Botswana house in Tokyo would give them the needed exposure.
BNOC CEO, Tuelo Serufho said the Olympic Games were big business as they were watched by multitudes, including television viewers.
Serufho said their desire was to send a minimum of 15 athletes that would have qualified.
He noted that from the 10 previous appearances at the Olympic Games, the country had won one silver medal at the 2012 Games courtesy of Nijel Amos.
The CEO said their aim was to win four medals, saying it was possible provided the private sector and Batswana afforded them the support required.
On the hospitality house, Serufho said it would be a one stop centre that would not only focus on sport, but also promote Botswana culture and arts as well as tourism and business opportunities.
He said it would also serve as a diplomatic and public educational space, a central base for local athletes and their families and a place of celebration.
"I must hasten to say that although the hospitality house is not my core mandate as I am expected to prepare athletes to be ready to compete, I am cognizant of the fact that I need our economy to perform in order for government and the private sector to continue supporting sport," he said.
Source : BOPA