FRANCISTOWN: Body building champion, Tobokani Maletamotse has criticised the Botswana Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Federation (BBWF) for failing to aid his World Championship mission.
By KOKETSO KGOBOGE, Mmegi, 11/18/2017
Maletamotse represented the country at the National Amateur Body Building Association (NABBA) World Fitness Federation (WFF) Championships held in Nicosia, Cyprus early in the month.
He scooped position six in the athletic category at the WFF championships and walked away with a trophy and a medal. He is the national and provincial champion in the athletic category. The Francistown-born Maletamotse went to the competition alongside his compatriot, Gontse Sechele who scooped position four in the extreme category. The champ said his journey to the competition endured a rough ride due to lack of support by the local federation. “We have a federation but it is like it does not exist, or at least they don’t know we (body building athletes) exist,” he said.
“The sport is expensive and it is not highly recognised in the country thus it makes it difficult for individuals to source sponsorship.
“Sometimes we only need a letter from the association that confirms to potential sponsors that we exist and that little will help our course.” In fact, he said he received half of the sponsorship from the Body Building South African (BBSA) while he was representing Botswana at the World championships. He said the trip was rescued by President Ian Khama’s intervention a day before his departure. He said the President instructed the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) to sponsor the trip yet MYSC had initially turned the athlete’s request down. He said the whole sponsorship hardships contributed to his lack of pertinent preparation. “My
preparations suffered because I did not have a sponsor until on the eve when President Khama intervened, otherwise the trip would have not been possible. “It is unfortunate that the BBSA takes better care for us than our (own) country (does). South Africa took care of my air tickets, my accommodation and they made me a VISA, yet I was raising my country’s flag.” He said he is resuming preparations for his upcoming three competitions next year where he aims to get his pro-card. His next competition will be the Pretoria Classic in May, followed by another in Singapore the same month and the world competition in the United States of America.
“I have qualified automatically for this competitions after my performance at the world championships.
“I am starting preparations and I am looking for sponsorships as early as now so that I can travel early and have ample time to rest and condition my body before competitions,” he said.
Refuting non-support claims, BBWF secretary general Alex Rankgwe said the federation is active and supportive to all their affiliates.
He said body building and power lifting have not affiliated despite being encouraged to affiliate in numerous occasions. He said none affiliation of the arms of the federation render the association none functional to them.
“Athletes have been made aware that they must affiliate and affiliation is done only at the beginning of the year.
“The federation can only assist those athletes that have affiliated, that is the requirement from BNSC (Botswana National Sport Commission).”