When Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) announced the historic visit of the IAAF president Sebastian Coe to Botswana this week, the custodians of local sport Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) were missing in action. Quizzed about the unusual absence of key stakeholders being BNOC and BNSC ahead of the historic visit, BAA spokesperson, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said they had invited both organizations to the meeting but they were ‘too busy’ to attend.
Coe, the most influential figure in world athletics is expected in Botswana tomorrow (Saturday).BNOC has however come out to deny that they were invited. Tuelo Serufho, the BNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) told BG Sport in an interview that the matter was news to them. “When exactly was the event?” he asked. For his part, BNSC Sports Development Director-Technical Bobby Gaseitsiwe also poured cold water on BAA’s claims, saying they should provide proof that indeed they (BNSC) were invited to the event.
“I just recently came from South Africa; I do not recall ever receiving such an invite. They should also be specific as to who told them we are busy,” said Gaseitsiwe. Responding to the matter this week, Ramatshaba then admitted that it could have been an oversight on their side but emphasized that both BNSC and BNOC are crucial partners in the IAAF president’s visit. It was only proper that they attend the meeting.
“They are the ones financing the whole visit, we need them on board,” he said. Gaseitsiwe continued to say that they have been working hand in hand preparing for Coe’s arrival and they (BAA) have been briefing them all the time. However, he maintained his stand that his office was not aware of the particular meeting.
Meanwhile, some key BAA affiliates claimed that they had not received any communication from the local athletics mother body with regards to the high-profile IAAF visit. “We have just sent out invites to all affiliates including a few selected athletes,” Ramatshaba said on Wednesday afternoon.
Coe is expected to arrive at Sir Seretse Khama Airport tomorrow afternoon. He will then proceed to meet the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng at Avani Hotel. In the evening, Coe will attend a training session at a Centre of Sports Excellence in Mogoditshane Senior School.
The day will end with a meet and greet session at Avani.On Sunday morning Coe will have a meeting with BAA officials then proceed to tour the BAA allocated plot in Block 8. Before heading back home, the World Athletics Chief will have a one-hour media briefing with members of the press at Lekidi BFA.