Gaborone — Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and French Embassy, on Wednesday joined hands to celebrate Olympic-bound female athletes.
The athletes were honoured on Olympic Day commemorations in Gaborone.
Speaking during the event, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare commended the athletes for persevering and managing to book themselves spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
"To our female athletes, this year has been truly remarkable, as your representation on the team has surpassed any we have seen before," he added.
He also acknowledged collaboration between BNOC and French Embassy, saying the relationship came at the right time, as the world looked to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Rakgare said it was not the first time the two entities worked together towards achieving a common goal that resonated with the ministry, urging different structures in the ministry to develop mutual partnerships with different entities to implement their mandates and further ministry's reach.
Embassy of France's Economic, SADC and Press Attaché, Lucas Estagnasie, who was speaking on behalf of Ambassador of France, Laurence Beau indicated that the day highlighted the involvement of young women and girls in sport as a means of empowerment.
Estagnasie said women's empowerment was part of France feminist diplomacy and an important part of the embassy's commitments and actions.
"This is why we would like to honour the female Batswana athletes who are with us today and who are going to Tokyo 2020, as well as the athletes with a range of disabilities or impairments, who will participate in the Paralympic Games," he added.
Sport, he said had the power to change life, adding that by showing women and girls' teamwork, resilience and self-confidence, sport could be a tool to achieve gender equality.
He said conscious of their strengths, girls could defend their rights, bodies and freedoms.
Estagnasie highlighted that sport allowed each and every one to assert themselves and to perform, whatever the social condition, adding that it was also about education because it dictated collective behaviour, loyalty and self-control.
"Sport requires tolerance, respect and fair play.
It helps in preserving physical and mental health," he added.
He explained that combining sport with culture and education, Olympism aimed at creating a lifestyle based on joy, the educational value of good example and respect for fundamental ethical principles.
He said it also contributed to building a peaceful and better world by promoting sport without discrimination of any kind in the Olympic spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and solidarity. "Olympic games gather people and as a competition, they promote multilateralism and peace between nations" he added.
For his part, BNOC president Colonel Botsang Tshenyego said a lot of their plans and events depended primarily on partnerships for success, citing the 100 days to Tokyo as one such.
"This shows the value of collaborations partnerships can unlock," he said.
Source : BOPA