Botswana targets four medals at 2020 Olympic Games

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Bakang Mhaladi
Gaborone
- Botswana is targeting four medals at next year's Tokyo Olympic Games, after winning their first and only medal at the London 2012 competition.
In 2012, little known Nijel Amos powered to second place in what was been recorded as the fastest 800m race in history, to win Botswana's first Olympic medal.
Now, Botswana wants to add four medals to Amos' silver, when the team competes at the 2020 Tokyo games.
The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) believes the country has made sufficient strides, particularly in athletes, to win at least four medals next year.
Botswana has been participating at the Olympic Games since the 1980 Moscow debut.
Next year marks 40 years of Botswana's participation at the Olympics and the BNOC believes it is only fitting to win more medals.
The assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Philip Makgalemele, said the target for Tokyo 2020 is four medals.
"We have to make sure that the team is adequately prepared to reach the podium finish," Makgalemele said in Gaborone this week, where he launched an SMS campaign to raise P2.5 million for the team.
Botswana intends to send a team of 15 athletes to Tokyo, an increase from the nine that went to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The BNOC has said it does not have sufficient funds to ensure the team is properly prepared, hence a new initiative where the public can donate P5 through an SMS campaign.
“BNOC did not wait for government funding but have identified an opportunity through the use of modern technology, not only to fundraise but to connect athletes with the community,” Makgalemele said.
Acting BNOC president, Tshepo Sitale, said the aim is to have athletes qualify as soon as possible to give them ample time to focus on preparations.
"The best thing is to qualify early and have enough time to prepare. After the Rio Olympics in 2016, we engaged with the private sector to initiate the Tokyo 2020 preparations and it was taking longer and had to come up with innovative ways on how to raise capital,” Sitale said during the launch of the SMS campaign.
The Botswana team will move to Europe for warm weather training, during the winter period in the southern hemisphere.
Botswana has some world renowned athletes like Commonwealth Games champion, Isaac Makwala, Amos, former women's 400m champion, Amantle Montsho, former junior world 400m champion, Baboloki Thebe and Africa's 400m champion, Karabo Sibanda, who all have the capacity to bring medals from Tokyo.

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