Gaborone — Government stands firm in supporting sport sector to change lives and unite people, as well as to transform the economy, says deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Bruno Paledi.
Paledi said this during Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC)'s Botswana Sports Awards held on Saturday.
Paledi, who reiterated govenment support for the sector, therefore urged private sector, Batswana and other well-wishers, to take keen interest in the sector.
He said performance of the stars continued to be the rallying point of the nation as it had seen impressive graduation over the years, from being mere journeymen and women, to serious contenders on the world stage.
He said it was now an anomaly for the Botswana flag not to be hoisted during medal ceremonies of major international multisport competitions.
"I have faith in your courage and resolve and it is for that reason that I continue to walk with my head held up high with optimism for the future," he said.
Paledi said nothing makes people temporary shed off their political colours, religious pursuits and other interests to become Batswana, before anything else, like sports does.
BNSC chairperson, Marumo Morule said they had been resilient enough in their resolve to ensure that excelling sportsmen and women were honoured and celebrated.
He said the journey had been long, with many pitfalls and uncertainties, but the sport fraternity had been able to ride through rough currents to be there.
"We also know that many of our athletes, coaches and other support personnel have not only lost the opportunity to engage in sport, but have also lost income," he said.
Morule said they knew that their resolve would carry them through, to not lose sight of the daring targets they have set for themselves; including five Olympic Gold medals by 2028.
He said BNSC appreciated government for financial support it provided and business community for their invaluable support.
"Sport is relying on your good will to grow. Don't close your doors on us even in these trying times," he said.
"As we prepare to return to sport in the new normal, we must do so with the knowledge that it will be yet another long and challenging period; one fraught with uncertainty and disappointments," he said.
Morule also encouraged all to observe the safety protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
For his part, Botswana Television (Btv) acting general manager, Joel Thuto said Department of Broadcasting Services, through Btv, had entered into a five-year partnership agreement to co-produce BNSC awards in 2018.
"Today, we acknowledge and celebrate sportsmen and women for their relentless hard work, sweat and tears that have gone into making stars of the night," he said.
Source : BOPA