The 2018 edition of the annual Desert Bush Walk-Winter is slated to take place this Saturday in Jwaneng. The event is in the fourth year running.
Preparations according to organisers are at an advanced stage. Bringing the media up to speed about preparations during a media briefing that was held on Monday morning in Gaborone, the organisers informed the media that all that they were waiting for was for the 3000 walkers from Botswana and neighbouring countries to arrive in Jwaneng.
Two cabinet ministers, Thapelo Olopeng of Youth, Sports and Culture Development and Alfred Madigele of Health and Wellness will grace the walk alongside other walkers. This year, the guest walker will be the Lesotho Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sport and Culture, T Seoka. The organisers had targeted 2500 walkers (1800 for 30 KM and 700 for 15KM), and the target has been reached.
Speaking during the media briefing, Board Chairperson, Archibald Ngakayagae explained that every year both the local organizing committee and the board take part in a process of evaluation. This, he says, is done in order to note the challenges and come with interventions to all issues raised during the process. The 2017 evaluation process has seen a couple of changes and developments within the event such as the changes in the route. The 10KM walk has been increased to 15KM, following feedback from participants.
The other change has been the reduction of refreshment points from the intervals of 5KM to 10KM.
“This means that for the 15KM category, we are only going to have 1 water point at 10KM while on 30KM category we are going to have water points at 10KM, 20KM, and a mini refill at 25KM,” he explained noting that they wanted to curb the problem of littering.
He also explained that this year they would provide dustbins at the water points and have requested the Jwaneng Town Council to assist with litter picking along the route.
Another change worth noting, he says is the fact that the two categories will start at different times. The 30km walkers will depart at 0640HRS, while the 15KM will start at 0650HRS. “This is in order to reduce congestion at the starting point,” says Ngakayagae.
Ngakagae also revealed that they have finally been recognized as one of Botswana’s national events, and were added to the national list of events by Botswana Tourism Organisation.
However, every year, the committee continues to face a number of challenges, and these include lack of buy in and support from local authorities including beneficiaries.
Other challenges include shortages of resources during the build up to the event, during the walk and after the event. “These resources include lack of rescue motor vehicles, and personnel, vehicles to use to run errands, shortage of facilities and manpower. We are still appealing to partners on the matter to assist,” he says.
Organisers are also struggling with the registration of participants. In future, Ngakayagae explains that they hope to develop/purchase an online registration software.
Sponsors for 2018 include Mokala lodge, MRI, Patmo Transport, Liberty Life, Botswana Savings Bank, BTCL, BAMB, Letshego, Botswana Guardian, Sunday Standard, Carly Clothing, Duma Fm, Botswana Oil, Puma Energy, Majwe Mining, Masteka Printing, Pick n Pay (Jwaneng), webtickets, Engen Lobatse, NT4 Engineering, as well as Davebouy Worx.
Massive job losses are looming at the Botswana National Sports Commission(BNSC). The Botswana sports mother body that falls under the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development is expected to lay off some of its manpower and join many other government parastatals that have carried out retrenchment exercises recently.
BG Sport is in possession of a leaked confidential document addressed to BNSC affiliates and the Botswana National Olympic Committee among others. The document, signed by BNSC Chief Executive officer Falcon Sedimo, informs stakeholders
that the parastatal will embark on a restructuring exercise in the near future.
“This exercise is necessitated by the need to undertake a manpower utilization exercise in order to determine the appropriate staffing levels, in terms of numbers, job profiles, relevant skills and competencies,” the document reads. Through the confidential document Sedimo explained that the transition from Council to a Commission has brought about new roles and responsibilities thus the organisation needs to be adequately staffed.
“The BNSC board has approved the decision to embark on a restructuring exercise to improve service delivery.” In the document, Sedimo further explained that the BNSC has appointed Consultants to conduct the restructuring exercise and stakeholders will be informed on the outcome of the restructuring at a later stage. The BNSC, which oversees over 40 sporting codes, carried out a retrenchment exercise some five years ago. It remains too early to tell how the restructuring exercise will affect BNSC affiliates.
It has been a tough season for local athletes at the 2018 IAAF Diamond League, as none of them is on track to lift the trophy thus far, in a competition they have previously flexed muscles in both 400m and 800m events.
It was former world champion and current Commonwealth Games title -holder, Amantle Montsho who tasted sweet success at the Diamond League some four years ago. Nijel Amos (800m) and Isaac Makwala (400m) followed with their own wins at the lucrative track and field event.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games Gold winner Isaac Makwala came into the Diamond League season as one of the favourites to win the 400m trophy after an extraordinary 2017/18 season at international track. It was however not to be as Makwala was soon struck by a nagging hamstring injury that put him off track after only two races in the Diamond League.
Currently Makwala is at a mere 13 points in the 400m Diamond league standings. The Diamond league concludes at the end of August and Makwala is unlikely to win the 400m category which is currently led by Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar with a mighty 35 points. Makwala’s compatriot, Baboloki Thebe is not having a good time at the Diamond League either, as he is currently trailing at nine points after only two races.
The losing trend gets even worse in the women’s category as the likes of Amantle Montsho and Christine Botlogetswe do not feature in the Diamond League points standings. Both 400m female athletes have competed in a few Diamond League events with little success. The slump in performance by local athletes this season has been attributed to injuries and pure bad luck. This is according to the former 800m Runner, Glody Dube.
“The Diamond League requires athletes to accumulate points and if they stop working they do not earn money. This means it is important to remain at the top,” Dube said in an interview. According to Dube athletes are expected to foot their own medical bills in Europe when they sustain injuries. “The manager can help the athlete to find medical assistance but the money will be drawn from their earnings. People might not know how these athletes struggle in Europe as they have to pay for lodging and transport expenses.”
Meanwhile both Makwala and Montsho have been side-lined from the upcoming CAA Africa Senior Championships due to injuries. In an interview the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) spokesperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba confirmed that both Makwala and Montsho will not be competing at the event Scheduled for Asaba, Nigeria early next month. Furthermore, Ramatshaba said injuries might be the reason why both star athletes are not active at the ongoing Diamond League.
The Diamond League offers USD50 000 for the champion in each category. First place in single Diamond League race comes with a USD10 000 prize.
Miscelleneous Sports club are currently leading votes in the BTC Charity cup where supporters of the Premier league clubs are expected to vote their team into the one-day tournament.
The tournament will pit four BTC Premiership clubs against one another in the charity cup competition scheduled for the national stadium on 11th August in Gaborone.
As of Wednesday this week, Serowe’s Miscelleneous was leading with 8040 votes, while second place Extension Gunners is trailing with 4415 votes. On third place is the reigning league champions Township Rollers with 4234.
Gaborone United came in third place with 3476. In an interview this week, Miscelleneous spokesperson Edwin Ntau said the Serowe based club is ahead of the pack because of implacable leadership skills.
“We have mobilised our supporters from Serowe village, to the Ngwato region and beyond. Our supporters are responding positively because they know the importance of competing in the BTC Charity cup,” Ntau said.
The enthusiastic Ntau said they have been working day and night to encourage their supporters to vote. We have requested our supporters to spend at least P20 in voting for the team. Miscelleneous, who were last year’s surprise package when they emerged as giant killers against the likes of Township Rollers, have surprised many football stakeholders with their shocking margin in the BTC charity voting chart.
“We have branches all over the country and we have appealed to supporters to vote across the country.” Ntau expressed confidence that their votes might even swell to 10 000 when the next results are published.“We have beaten almost all the teams that will be competing in the charity cup. We are ready to throng the stadium in huge numbers when the competition takes place in Gaborone. So far, we have made transport arrangements and the team replica jerseys have already been prepared for supporters.
In other matters, Ntau said they have not yet signed any players in the current transfer window. Our rival teams are busy confusing players with contract signing. “We will salvage all the players that remain and build them up into a competitive squad. The team is busy courting potential sponsors. We expect to acquire sponsorship soon as we are master sales men and we will provide the much-needed mileage.”
The winners of the competition are expected to walk away with P300 000. The runners up will scoop P200 000 whilst P 120 000 will be handed to number three and four.