Govt. reneges on funding Commonwealth Karate Championships
Botswana government, through Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), will not financially support the Commonwealth Karate Championships which Botswana was to host in 2023.
Botswana won the bid to host the championships after emerging favourites over Sri Lanka and Barbados early this year.
After winning the bid, Botswana Karate Association (BoKA) projected a cumulative amount of P41 million in order to stage the tournament and to put team Botswana in good shape ahead of the championships.
Now with just over a year before the tournament kicks off, government has reneged on the promise to fund the international event, pointing to the rearranged date and the financial strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are not in any position to support the tournament financially because accepting to host in 2023 is too soon. When giving BoKA the blessings to bid, we knew the event was going to be in 2024 but now it has been changed to an earlier 2023 date.We are not ready to host in 2023 because that needs money and we don’t have the funds. So it’s no longer favourable to host because most of government funds have gone to combating COVID-19 and even the sports budget has been reduced this year. To the best of my knowledge we have informed BoKA about all this, so the ball is in their court,” explained BNSC CEO Tuelo Serufho.
As it was reported by the BoKA president in the past months, P26 million was budgeted for tournament logistics while P15 million was dedicated towards Team Botswana preparations for the next three years.
Though BNSC did support the bid from the start, a lot of factors seem to be at play now since the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the sports budget and it is not yet known when the economy will recover, hence the government’s stance not to financially support the tournament.
The championships were rescheduled for 2023 after the 2020 edition that was billed for England, Birmingham were scrapped off due to Covid-19.
Also government says it already has a commitment to finance other critical preparations of major games such as the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships scheduled for 2022 in England and United States of America respectively.
BoKA President, Tshepo Bathai, could not be drawn into discussing the issue.
“We will update on the issue when the matter is sorted out with government. Currently it is still internal, so for now all questions can be forwarded to the commission,” he said.
The last Commonwealth Karate Championship that was held in Africa was in 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa where Botswana won a total of 16 medals, being three gold, six silver and seven bronze