Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is celebrating 40 years of existence and the festivities were launched in Gaborone this week.Speaking at the launch, BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho said that the organization was established back in 1978 and International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized it in 1980.
Serufho noted that the BNOC facilitated Botswana’s maiden appearance at the Olympic games in 1980 in Moscow. The country has since competed in every single Summer Olympic games and to date, Botswana has competed in a total of 10 editions, the recent being the Rio 2016.Prior to the founding of BNOC, a group of passionate Batswana made it possible for the country to compete at the commonwealth games for the first time in 1974.
Botswana has only missed the 1978 edition of the Commonwealth games. Serufho took pride in Botswana's success stories in both the Olympics and commonwealth games. In 2000, Glody Dube became the first Motswana to make it into the finals of any competition at Olympic games, followed by the men’s 4x4 relay Team, making it into the final in 2004. In 2008 Botswana’s golden girl, Amantle Montsho also made it to the women’s 400m final.
Montsho then became the first Motswana to win a gold medal at the 2010 commonwealth games. “In 2011, Montsho continued to shine, bristly registering Botswana’s first Gold medal at the World Championships. Who can forget that in 2012 Nigel Amos had his own share when he won the first ever-Olympic medal for the country,” Serufho said.
He noted that they have had their own share of downfalls in the past 40 years; he said that they had wished to build their own headquarters at their piece of land in block six Gaborone but were financially constrained and the process is still pending.Another concern is that local athletes continue to fall prey to doping cases. BNOC wishes to have zero doping cases, given the small population of Botswana, saying just one doping case shatters the dreams of sport excellence in the country.
When sharing his experiences, former 800m runner Dube said that Olympics are bigger than any other games, “When one competes at the Olympics, you are already a top athlete because you go there on qualification,” he said. He said registering your name as an Olympian opens many doors because the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) will register the athlete in their books even if they had not won any medal.
Dube noted that the IAAF knows how hard it is to compete at the Olympics hence they cherish everyone. He advised that Botswana should strive to win more Olympic medals because that will assist in selling the country. “Pay attention to codes that are doing well and invest more on them because you are sure to reap significantly in future,” he said.