By: Matthew Leidl
Well just like that I am around the half way mark of my international experience and time continues to fly by. It’s hard to believe that I will be home in less than two months! So far, this experience has taught me so much about the sport industry and has provided me with many opportunities to apply what I have learned at Brock University to my work here at the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) office.
In terms of work, my main task for the month of June was to collect data from various clubs and stakeholders in association with the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA). During this month I have had the opportunity to interact more with members outside of the BNOC office where I conducted surveys and interviews with table tennis clubs here in Botswana. Most of the interviews and surveys took place over the phone or via email, as most clubs are located outside of Gabs in northern Botswana. The main purpose of conducting these interviews and surveys was to get a better understanding of the structure and current state of table tennis here in Botswana. Specifically, these surveys allowed me to find out more information regarding the number of participants by gender, the types of programs being implemented by these organizations, as well as the level of competition within these clubs.
On top of conducting surveys from clubs, I have also been able to interview key stakeholders of the BTTA to collect information on the progression of table tennis within Botswana over the last 10 years. The stakeholders that I have been able to reach out to include:
- The Botswana National Sports Council
- The Botswana Integrated Sports Association
- The Botswana Brigades Sports Association
- The Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association
- The Botswana Tertiary Students Sports Association
Collecting data from these stakeholders has allowed me to see how table tennis is currently integrated into communities, schools, and national associations within the country.
My last task for the month of June was to write a report and a data analysis for the BTTA. Essentially this document showed the BTTA all my findings and results that I received from clubs and stakeholders over the last month. Not only will this report be beneficial to the BTTA, but it will also help me progress through next month as I begin to build the BLTAD framework.
Recently, I also had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Confederation of University and Colleges Sports Associations (CUCSA) Games here in Gaborone. Last Thursday, a couple colleagues from the BTTA and myself drove over to the university to take in the quarter-final, semi-final, and final matches for the men and women singles event. The CUCSA games is a regional event which takes place every year, showcasing the best university and college table tennis athletes in the region. This year at the games there were players from all over the southern part of Africa including teams from Zimbabwe, Zambia, SA and Botswana. This was an awesome experience as I was able to see the level of talent that is here in Botswana as well as the talent in surrounding regions.
Away from work I continue to use my time to explore more of Botswana. Last weekend, I went to Mokolodi Nature Reserve with two of my American friends to take in some of the sights. Mokolodi is a small game drive just outside of Gabs which is home to Giraffes, Zebras, Cheetahs, Ostriches and Kudus to name a few. Unfortunately we were not able to see all of the animals, but it was still an awesome game drive, allowing us to see just some of the wildlife that call Botswana home.
On Wednesday’s and Friday’s after work I play Ultimate Frisbee with a great group of people. We usually play for around two hours or so before heading out to a local restaurant for some food and drinks. This has been an awesome experience as I have been able to stay active and pick up a new sport I have never played before.
Through Frisbee I have also been able to make many friends including people from Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the USA, as well as two Canadians, one of which is a QE Scholar like myself… small world!
Lastly, and definitely my favourite part of June was my hike up Kgale Hill. A couple weekends ago a friend and I went up the hill at 6am. After climbing 1,287m we reached the top and safe to say the views were incredible. It is something that I have never seen before, and I definitely plan on hiking up the hill again in the near future.
That’s all for now! Until next time,