Gaborone — Different sporting codes have welcomed the lifting of the suspension of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) affiliated competitive sport.
They are of the view that the long lay-off of sport in the country that effected early last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had affected athletes.
Despite the lifting of the suspension, one can ask how ready the codes are, amid the pandemic taking into account the safety of both the players, technical teams and the grounds.
In an interview, Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) mouthpiece Taolo Tlouetsile said they were prepared to return to the boxing ring as they were already planning for their activities. He said the BNSC was yet to inform them about the grant allocation, which would enable them to plan their budget for the 2021 financial allocation.
"At least our affiliates/clubs can start training and preparing venues for tournaments. As far as the COVID-19 protocols are concerned, we have a plan of how our tournaments will be organised," he said.
Tlouetsile said clubs would be expected to submit their list of athletes, coaches and administrators ahead of the tournaments.
The list, he said would assist in managing the numbers at the tournaments as officials would make around 10 to 12 people. He said consideration would also have to be made for the four coaches with their athletes.
" If numbers allow that is when the next two opponents and their coaches will be allowed to warm-up inside the hall. If not, warms ups will have to be conducted at a different room," he said.
He said their annual general assembly was scheduled for the end of this month of which they expect leadership from affiliates to draft the calendar of events and agree on hosting procedures.
"We hope BISA as our partners will have their tournaments also. That will assist in preparing for the AUSC region 5 games to be hosted in Maseru, Lesotho in December," he said.As for the national team, he said they had put a proposal to BNOC to send the team to an international camp and tournament.
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) president, Tshepho Bathai also said they had been preparing very well and had come up with their own guidelines developed in partnership with World Karate Federation.
He said they had made it clear to their clubs that in all training and competitions, COVID-19 protocols and regulations would not be compromised. He said all participants, coaches and staff would keep a physical distance of two metres apart at all times while physical contact of any kind would not be permitted.
Athletes, he said would need a minimum 2mx2m exclusive training area, where each training area needs would be separated by an additional two metres to allow a safe distance for instructors to walk between training areas.
He said it was the club, dojo owner and instructors' responsibility to ensure there was proper sanitation of all areas within their facility.
"All equipment used must be disinfected after each use. Products used for disinfection must be labelled as a virucide and should be used according to manufacturer's directions," he said.
He said if athletes used public transport to come to training, they should wear a tracksuit over their uniform to keep it clean," he said.
Mokeresete Mokeresete of Botswana Netball Association said they were not yet ready to return to play.
He said the national executive committee was planning to meet on June 26 to map the way forward.
Mokeresete said netball was one code that had been not active, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that they last played in 2018. "We have a lot of work to do to return to play and resuscitate our structures at the same time," he said He said they were currently working on a plan to see how their teams could safely return to play.
Botswana Swimming Association president, Andrew Freeman said they were out of season but their clubs were ready to run a short course on 25 metres events to allow swimmers to post times.
He said they had Africa seniors and juniors coming up in October, World Championship in December, adding that the lifting of suspension would help them to fully prepare.
"Our home season starts in September but we do realise that we will need to have safe competitions as COVID-19 is still here. We did run successful events in the first quarter so we have that experience," he said.
Source : BOPA