Botswana guarantees exceptional AUSC games

23rd February 2017
DONE DEAL: Minister Thapelo Olopeng and AUSC R5 officials Source:The Midweek Sun


By Isaac Pheko -

Botswana has around 22 months to organise the 8th edition of the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Under 20 games scheduled for December 2018.

This comes after Botswana was given the nod to host SADC countries at the last AUSC games held in Luanda, Angola. The minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng signed an agreement to host the AUSC Region 5 games on Tuesday this week.  

The agreement will see Botswana making more strides in the quest to become an international sports hub. Addressing members of the press and AUSC officials in Gaborone, Olopeng said as a hosting country, Botswana will also assume the Chairmanship of the AUSC R5.
“I am happy to inform you that in December 2016, I received the AUSC R5 flag as acceptance of our preparedness to host the next edition of the games,” said Olopeng who was flanked by outgoing AUSC chairperson Dr Vetumbuavi Veii.

“As a precursor to these games we will in December 2017 hold the Botswana Games   in Gaborone,” Olopeng said adding that Botswana has been participating in the games   since the first edition held in Mozambique back in 2004.

Our performance at these games has been exceptional. In 2016, our athletes put up an even brilliant performance in Luanda, Angola. Moreover, Olopeng said government   has already committed to fund the games. “This budget is not adequate to deliver games of the highest standard which is why we are appealing to the private sector to partner with government to deliver more meaningful and exceptional games.”

The minister said the Local Organising Committee for the games will be launched as soon as April 2017. “We also appeal to the media to support these games by profiling athletes and giving them maximum exposure”. Speaking at the same occasion the AUSC R5 regional chairperson Dr Veii said following the protocol agreement all parties involved will need to evolve into one well-oiled machine that works seriously to ensure a memorable games experience for athletes and spectators.

“We will request the indulgence of the honourable minister to ensure expedient establishment of the relevant organs and structures for the organisation and management of the games as early as reasonably possible,” Dr Veii said. “No doubt   we have lost time already, but I am convinced that we can still work hard to reclaim the lost time.”

For his part, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Kago Ramokate said Botswana is committed to sports at     a junior level. “This is a platform for kids in rural areas to come and shine. I want to assure you that we will host exceptional games. There is no doubt,” said Ramokate. During the last AUSC team Botswana which consisted of just over 80 athletes secured second place accumulating a total of 35 medals including 14 gold, 14 silver and seven bronze medals. Being the host next year, Botswana will have the opportunity to field more athletes. Meanwhile Botswana is expected to host the Netball Youth World Cup later this year. The country recently held the 2014 African Youth Africa games.

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