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P800 000 for centres of excellence

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P800 000 for centres of excellence
HANDING OVER: Minister Olopeng handing over the equipment to Minister Unity Dow

In an effort to address shortage of equipment and sportswear at Centres of Excellence, Ministry Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has donated P800 000 to the programme.

Centres of Excellence programme was established in 2011 to identify talented youngsters and to accelerate their development process.

Through this programme, the government introduced a system in which talented athletes are admitted into designated schools so as to drill them in the earmarked sport codes.

The sporting codes under this programme are Athletics, Boxing, Volleyball, Netball, Karate and Softball.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony at Mogoditshane Senior School, Minister Thapelo Olopeng said the centres were introduced through collaboration between his ministry and Ministry of Education and Skills Development.

He said the challenges faced by these centres has been lack of dedicated budget to the programme.

“The funds will be used to purchase sport wear for seven of the National Sport Associations under the centers of sport excellence programme. Going forward we will make funds available on an annual basis to improve programme implementation,” Olopeng said.

The minister further said it was from these centers of excellence that the likes of Karabo Sibanda, Baboloki Thebe and Galefele Moroko were discovered.

He said these athletes have represented the country at major games such as Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

“We recently had students from Mogoditshane Senior who participated at the World Youth Netball Cup while Masunga and Goodhope Senior have students participating in the World Baseball Junior men Championships,” Olopeng said.

The minister gave assurance that his ministry will work with Botswana National Sports Commission and other stakeholders to nurture and strengthen sport development programmes.

Former Minister of Basic Education Unity Dow thanked the Ministry of Youth for ensuring that young talented athletes are provided with an opportunity to reach their full potential.

She also thanked teachers for their dedication in identifying and overseeing its development.