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PREVIOUS GLORY: Nijel Amos at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

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Commonwealth crisis

BNOC yet to receive budget for upcoming games

Four months to go until the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Team Botswana’s hopes of gold and glory have been hit by an age-old problem: a lack of finances.

Dreams of emulating Amantle Montsho’s heroics in Delhi 12 years ago, Nigel Amos’ stunning gold at Glasgow 2014 or building on the five medals won in Australia last time out already looks an uphill battle.

Yet to receive a budget for the sporting spectacle, with a bank account verging on empty, BNOC have been unable to begin proper preparations – it certainly takes the wealth out of commonwealth!

With the games scheduled for Birmingham, England from 28th July to 8th August ideally, preparations, including training camps, would be well under way by now.

However, as BNOC President, Colonel Botsang Tshenyego, admitted at a press briefing on Tuesday, a lack of Pula power has made this impossible.

“Preparations are ongoing but not as good as we thought due to lack of funding. Preparations basically rely on government funding, but that funding has not come through as of now. Obviously we know government is under a lot of constraints ever since the pandemic in terms of what they assist with,” said Tshenyego.

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Botswana will send 26 athletes to the games – one less than the 27 assembled for the Gold Coast in 2018 – to compete over seven sporting codes. Team BW will have representation in athletics, boxing, swimming, squash, weightlifting, judo and cycling.

Although time is of the essence, Colonel Tshenyego remains hopeful that the cash is coming.

“We are optimistic that in a few weeks we will receive the funds. Obviously every day that goes past without preparations leads to loss of momentum for the games, and value, which those days could have added in terms of readiness.”

The BNOC head is adamant that all is not lost, adding, “Of course federations have individual preparations and programmes under their budget, so some have made some strides already.”

On the Gold Coast four years ago, Botswana put in their best performance at the games, winning five medals, three of them boasting a goldish tinge. Montsho, Isaac Makwala and the men’s 4x400m relay team all stood atop the podium as ‘Fatshe leno la rona’ was blared out on the stadium speakers.

Completing a memorable ten days Down Under, Baboloki Thebe won himself a silver (clinching a BW one/two in the 400m) while the ladies’ 4x400m powered to an unlikely bronze.

It was good enough for the country to finish 16th overall; getting close to that again in Birmingham will take a monumental effort!

BOTSWANA’S RECENT COMMONWEALTH RECORD

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GAMES                   GOLD                SILVER        BRONZE
2002 Manchester    –                             2                      1
2006 Melbourne     –                             1                       1
2010 Delhi                1                              1                       2
2014 Glasgow          1                              0                      0
2018 Gold Coast     3                              1                       1

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