New sports policy ahead of Region 5 games

NEO SENOKO

MASERU - Lesotho is reviewing the sports and recreational policy ahead of the 2020 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games scheduled for Lesotho. While the country is busy preparing for the 9th edition of the games, the minister of gender, youth, sports and recreation Dr Mahali Phamotse has revealed that the new sports and recreational policy is already on the cards. “Lesotho is renewing its sports and recreation policy and because we do not exist in isolation we will avail the draft for the inputs of the secretariat which will assist us to align ourselves with existing documents of the mother bodies we subscribe to,” Phamotse said during the opening of the AUSC Region 5 Executive meeting held in Lesotho yesterday.

The minister emphasised that the policy was central to the development of sports and recreation in Lesotho.“It covers significant issues around mass participation, high performance, sport for development, social inclusion, institutional framework and coordination,” she added. For the first time in history, Lesotho will host the Region 5 Games and will definitely want to stage one of the memorable events ever.The minister also revealed that preparations were already underway as the necessary structures were in place.

“We are still at an infant stage though, thus we wish to have your support and patience because of the complexity and important nature of the games which needs to be matched with the policies and expectations of the government of Lesotho. Commitment of all relevant parties in this noble course will go a long way in ensuring successful organisation of this games,” she said.Chairman of the AUSC Region 5 Dr Vetumbuavi Veii on the other hand urged the 2020 hosts to hit the ground running with preparations as time was moving fast.

“It may sound a long way from today but you will agree with me that we do not have the luxury of time as we have already lost the first six months of preparations,” Veii said. He also urged member countries to put more focus on athletes and coach development, explaining that the region was making efforts to commercialise its products and services. “These stars require support and corporation from all stakeholders and therefore I challenge all of us to place athletes’ development at the center of our priorities.

“It is not desirable for us to take ill prepared athletes to global events as poor performance exposes us to convey the perception about our capabilities,” the chairman warned. The 2018 edition of the games will be held in Botswana in December this year.

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