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Relay teams saga rages on: Accusations and counter-accusations.

Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo, has dismissed as untrue, reports that the commission failed to release funds to enable relay teams to compete at the World Relays billed for Japan tomorrow.

In an interview, Sedimo called upon the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) to tell the nation the truth about what happened during preparations for the trip.

He stated that BAA submitted a request for funds to undertake the trip on May 7 and the sport development manager, Elsie Magadi, approved it the same day with the finance director, Kabelo Mmono passing it on May 8.

This followed approval of BAA email that was submitted on May 3 at 4:44pm.

Sedimo said as such BAA officials were supposed to have signed for withdrawal of money in the morning of May 8 to facilitate payment for processing of visas.

He also stated that BAA leadership had an appointment with the Japanese Embassy on May 8 before 12 noon to allow for processing of visas for the teams.

However, 'we are informed that they arrived late, which militated against the possibility to pay for the processing of visas before 12 noon on May 8,' he said.

The BNSC was ready and willing to finance the trip, though it had not yet received grant from the government for the 2019/2020 financial year, he said, adding that if visas had been processed, they would have financed the trip.

On one hand, BAA vice president, Kenneth Kikwe, pointed an accusing finger to BNSC, saying the BAA submitted its budget to BNSC in April.

'To cut the story short, tell them to show us the proof that they have deposited the visa money in the BAA account,' he said.

Kikwe said Sedimo knew about Yokohama trip because they had met him on several occasions discussing the trip.

'We are keen to improve in athletics, but some people are sabotaging our progress,' he said.

Another accusing finger pointed at BAA is that of its former secretary general, Kebaitse Legojane, who was adamant that the association had failed on its mandate because some funds were at its disposal.

He said the association could have turned to IAAF or Olympic solidarity for the sponsorship instead of solely depending on the BNSC grant.

He said IAAF offered participating member federation a quota of two athletes for each relay team while Botswana had four athletes on Olympic Solidarity namely Baboloki Thebe, Isaac Makwala, Karabo Sibanda and Nijel Amos.

Therefore, Botswana National Olympic Committee, using its Olympic solidarity fund would have sponsored three athletes and BAA could have just paid for a coach and one athlete.

'To come last minute and try to arm twist BNSC is not acceptable,' he said.

According to IAAF World Relays Yokohama 2019 - Team Manual section 3.3.6, a penalty of US$1 000 per athlete, after the first two, may be imposed on member federations, which after having announced through the preliminary entries their participation in an IAAF competition, do not take part.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:May 9, 2019
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