Botswana: 'Adopt Athlete-Centred Approach'

Gaborone — Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development minister, Tumiso Rakgare says it is vital that affliliates adopt athlete-centred approach in everything they do to ensure that greatest proportion of funds invested goes directly to athletes for enhancement of performance.

He said this during Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) annual general assembly recently.

"Over and above the athlete-centred approach, there is need to improve athlete discipline, standard of administration and governance of National Sports Associations," he said.

Rakgare said he was cognizant of the fact that the National Sport and Recreation Policy of 2001 was overdue for review adding that the ministry would make it a priority in the next planning and implementation cycle.

Furthermore, he highlighted that they were committed to amending the BNSC Act No. 30 of 2014 with a view to close all the gaps that had been identified since its implementation in the last five years.

"We should all be aware that after amendment, the Act may not necessarily be perfect, however, it should be good enough to aide implementation of plans and strategies of the commission," he said.

Rakgare pleaded with affiliates that as they make preparations towards celebrating the 54th anniversary of independence and sports' invaluable contribution, it was important that they keep their focus on the vision of the commission and be guided by pursuit of excellence in everything they do with a view to remain both relevant and globally competitive.

He said they should consider reviewing some operations with a view to making them more cost effective, adding that time had come for them to consider Tier System for their National Sport Associations.

"Gone are the days when associations were funded on a historical basis. We should now demand value for money and determine, which codes can and will help us achieve our strategic goals," he said.

The minister also pleaded with all National Sport Association to develop grassroots development programmes that would ensure continued improvement in the performance of respective athletes and national teams.

He said they should also make use of existing structures such as the school system for development of athletes.

"On that note, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development and Ministry of Basic Education have appointed a Joint Task Team on School sport to explore ways by which school sport can produce elite athletes good enough for our national teams.

I request that you assist this team with whatever information they may need from you," he said.

On other issues, he said this year's AGM was different as it was held via a virtual platform owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had led to restricted movement across zones and limited number of people per meeting.

As a sector, he said they had to continue doing business of sport cognizant of the restrictions and at the same time taking advantage of Information Technology.

"There is therefore a need for change of mind set and approach to doing business in the era of COVID-19.

We are being challenged to do more with less and in the process fine-tune our programmes with a view to strategically focus on addressing the aspirations of our people," he said.

Rakgare said in doing this, athletes welfare should be paramount, because without the athletes, they had no reason for existence.

Welfare issues, he added included but not limited to dealing with injuries and rehabilitation, death, health insurance, medical cover and safeguarding them from abuse of any kind.

He said attention should also be given to disability sport and they had to develop human resources to be able to deal with their special needs including issues of gender equality.

"Special attention should be given to junior athletes as they are more vulnerable," he said.

Meanwhile, BNSC chairperson Marumo Morule said he was happy that Botswana sport was embracing the new way of work and business by taking advantage of information technology.

Morule said together with his board they were committed to taking Botswana sport to greater height.

He said they could achieve and grow sport in Botswana, through commitment and support from all stakeholders.

Source : BOPA

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