Gaborone — Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho, says absence of funding for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is likely to affect qualification deadlines for some sporting codes.
Speaking at a press briefing in Gaborone on November 21, Serufho said though they had not yet received funding from government, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) has been given money to disperse to national federations in order to implement programmes towards athlete preparations to qualify for the games.
"This has created problems, to have a smooth coordinated implementation of training programme for the athletes," he said.
Serufho decried that qualification deadlines for some sporting codes such as cycling qualification had elapsed while others were drawing closer.
He said it was important for the country to ensure that with the limited amount of time, they could qualify athletes and win medals at the Olympic Games.
The CEO said they had set themselves a target to qualify 15 athletes and to win at least four medals.
To date, he said, only three athletes, Nijel Amos, Galefele Moroko and Christine Botlogetswe had qualified for the Olympics.
He said BNOC had a duty to ensure that Botswana competed at the Olympic Games and in the event they fail to facilitate for Botswana to compete at the Olympic Games, the country would be sanctioned by the IOC.
"So, it is mandatory for us to ensure that there is representation at the Olympic Games, therefore it is important that, as we have that responsibility, we keep you updated, as to what is happening with respect to our preparation to compete at the Olympic Games," he said.
Furthermore, Serufho said the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were important to Botswana as it would be 40 years since the country first competed at the Olympic Games.
"We started in 1980, when we sent the first cohort of athletes to compete, and of course, over the years after our first competition, we obviously pride ourselves, not only in having representation at the Olympic Games, but the gallant performance by those that we send to the Games," he said.
Furthermore, he said in 2012 Amos broke the jinx by a winning the country's first Olympic medal, a feat most people still prides over.
He however said it was now important that the country write a new chapter, given that the abundance talent the country possesses.
Source : BOPA