Taking the baton from Morocco, Botswana is the proud host of the 2014 African Youth Games dubbed ‘unleashing African stars,’ as the long awaited 2nd Africa Youth games are finally here and all the expected 54 countries have arrived in the country.
All eyes will be on team Botswana as the hosts to see if they will reach their 30-medals target for the international showpiece. As a motivation ahead of the games, the team recently had lunch with President Ian Khama where they were encouraged to be good ambassadors to the country.
The President reminded the athletes that it was a huge responsibility to wear national colours and to represent the nation, adding that the team which included talented youngsters such as Naomi Ruele of swimming and Galefele Moroko of athletics, was capable of doing well in the competition.
Team Botswana’s head of delegation, Tshepo Sitale, has since told Batswana that they are ready to bring glory to the nation, adding that the team was going out with the understanding that it must strive to make the nation proud.
The games which have attracted 2,500 athletes from the continent will be officially opened today with a cast of around 500 to depict the rich Setswana culture through cultural dance. Amongst other interesting things that people will appreciate will be the BDF band which will be marching with the athletes, the BDF Air Force and various local artists performing, amongst them the celebrated and most popular Vee. According to Terry Behan of VWV, a company handling the staging of the opening and the closing ceremonies; their objective is to make sure that everyone appreciates the beauty of Botswana and its tourism in a way that the world has never seen before.
“This is the biggest event in Africa this year and we are going to approach stages such as the AFCON 2012 and World Cup 2010 opening, hence we encourage people to come and witness this magnificent event. Those who will not make it to the stadia should watch it on SuperSport or BTV and we are guaranteed a viewership of over 100 million around the world,” revealed Behan.
This exciting sporting event of the African Youth Games for Athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 years will further be used to prepare and qualify for the Youth Olympics of the same year.
The Botswana African Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC) has seen the need to start taking sport seriously as it can make a significant contribution to Botswana’s economic development and diversification through among other things, the export of Athletes.
As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BAYGOC, Tuelo Serufho said recently, “We are heavily reliant on diamonds, so this is a way of diversifying the economy through the event, and what better way to do it than through sport.He went on to say that Botswana’s bidding for the games was not purely for sporting reasons, but also as a way of exploring and taking advantage of other opportunities that the Games will present.”
Meanwhile Serufho assured the nation that the games would be beamed live on both Supersport and Btv.
“Supersport are the primary broadcasters and will supply other broadcasters with the live feed,” he said.
Responding to Voice Sport as to why there is no hype about the games on the sports channel, Serufho said Supersport would update their website and action attraction on Thursday. At time of going to print there was nothing about the BAYGOC games on Supersport website.