This Content Is Only For Subscribers
…PASSOBO decries delayed funding
The Paralympic Association of Botswana (PASSOBO) currently has only athlete who has qualified for the upcoming 2024 Summer Paralympics billed for Paris. This is against 10 athletes that the association had target for qualification.
Tshepo Maferaka, President of the Paralympic Association of Botswana (PASSOBO), revealed that Edwin ‘Tiger’ Masuge, acclaimed for his outstanding performance in the last Paralympics in Tokyo, has secured a spot for the Paris Games.
Despite Masuge’s triumph, other sporting codes face a difficult hurdle in their Paralympic journey. Maferaka cited delayed funding from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) as the reason for their exclusion. The delay has hindered the athletes’ classification by sports doctors who can only be found in places such as Japan and Tunisia and warrants the team to travel so they could comply with the international standards for Athlete Evaluation.
The classification process is carried out through the Athlete Evaluation process that comprises procedures for the assessment of athletes and the allocation of Sport Class and Sport Class Status.
This classification is vital, as Maferaka emphasised, stating, “without the classification, it makes it impossible for athletes with disabilities to qualify, regardless of their merit in sport. This setback hampers the overall progression of Paralympics as a whole.”
Expressing concerns over the delay’s impact on preparations, Maferaka disclosed, “unfortunately, as we speak, we have not started training due to this delay, but the expectations for us to represent the nation in the upcoming Paralympics persist.”
In a hopeful plea for increased funding, Maferaka outlined plans to expand the Paralympic roster, including codes like athletics of the blind (visually impaired) races, athletics of the physically challenged (races and powerlifting), and para table tennis. The goal he said is to field a team of 10 participants, highlighting the broader vision for Botswana’s Paralympic representation.
Despite the nation’s historical success at the Paralympics financial challenges persist. Maferaka appealed to Batswana to contribute in any capacity to address the funding gaps, emphasising the importance of community support in overcoming these obstacles.
Botswana, with a rich Paralympic history dating back to its début in the 2004 Summer Paralympics, continues to strive for excellence in adaptive sports. As a member of PASSOBO, the governing body for disability sports, the nation seeks to promote inclusivity, develop disabled sports, and foster international competition readiness. The journey to Paris 2024 hangs in the balance, awaiting the support and solidarity of the community to propel Botswana’s Paralympic dreams to new heights.