The Botswana sports landscape is about to undergo a seismic shift when the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) will entirely take over the major international competition and elite athletes, leaving the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to focus on development.
These developments are expected to take off after the imminent 2015 All Africa Games (AGG) scheduled for September 3 to 10. Then, the African Ministers of Sport and their counterparts from Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding. This understanding will eventually give birth to a new form of AAG, which will all round serve as an Olympic qualifiers.
Speaking to BG Sport this week, the Chief Executive Officer of the BNOC, Tuelo Serufho said the current arrangement will see AAG being held under the auspices of the African Union as opposed to being run by the Olympic movement, as is the case in other countries. Serufho explained that currently the BNOC sends athletes to international competitions like the Olympics, Youth Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Youth Commonwealth Games. “On the other hand the BNSC sends athletes to the AAG and the Zone V (AUSC) Games. After the AAG, ANOCA will deliver the games just like in other countries in the Olympic movement,” he said. Serufho added that the Zone V games would also follow the AAG under ANOCA, as the two are under one category. “This means that then, the BNSC will now focus on grass roots development and the roles of both the latter and the BNOC will be streamlined.”
Moreover, Serufho said he expected the transition to be smooth once an agreement has been sealed. “We will need to beef up our capacity to take on the new roles,” he said. According to Serufho, ball sports teams will have a chance to qualify for the Olympics when the deal is struck. Previously, he explained that timed sports like swimming and athletics benefitted from the games. “Indeed the transition is long overdue. The current set up, while beneficial, in some respects, has been disadvantageous in many others.
In the past two different teams of the same age group have had to be assembled at the same time in an attempt to qualify for two different competitions, an undertaking that has proved to be costly.”
Meanwhile, the 11th All Africa Games slated for Brazzaville, Congo will expect 5000 athletes from 53 countries including the likes of 2012 silver Olympic Medallist Nijel Amos, South African Olympic medallist Chad le Clos and Commonwealth Games champion runner Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria. Reached for comment on the matter, the BNSC chairman Solly Reikeletseng denied any knowledge on the matter, adding that he is yet to be briefed on the impending developments.