We would like to take this opportunity to wish well and convey our support to the athletics team that is representing Botswana at the on-going IAAF World Championships in China. These athletes are out there not only for their own benefits but also for the good of the country. They are therefore ambassadors of this nation and they deserve all the necessary support.
Botswana is represented by a group of 7 elite runners in the likes of 400m sensation Isaac Makwala, 800m specialist Nijel Amos, Onkabetse Nkobolo, Pako Seribe, Kabelo Kgosiemang of high jump, Leaname Maotoanong and Sakarea Kamberuka. It took them hard work, courage and determination to qualify for the competitions of this calibre. Now what is proper is for us to wish them well and pray that they continue the good performance they have been displaying.
The world championship is a meet for the ‘best of the best’. This means our athletes are among the World’s best, they are the best. You have done very well guys to have booked a place at this stage. We believe that you will continue to make the country proud because every time you enter the track you fly high the flag of our nation. You are like the country’s sales agents, Botswana is known across the world because of your performances.
With this said, it is high time that the country as a whole continues its unwavering support towards these athletes. It should not be the responsibility of certain people but Batswana as a whole. I am saying this because it is at the moment the expectation of each and every Motswana that the team bring home some medals. It is therefore critical for all to stand in support for the athletes.
It is evident that the athletes, not only these but all from other sporting codes are unhappy with the support they get even though people expect them to perform miracles. To prove this Amos himself recently called on Batswana to desist from supporting them only when they are doing well but abandon them when the going is tough. This attest that a lot still needs to be done to support local athletes.
Fortunately is looks like government through the Minster of Youth Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng has started showing interest in the support of these athletes. Even President Ian Khama himself has always provided his unwavering support. But like I said before, this needs to be a collective thing from all relevant people especially the private sector and Batswana at large.
We still can do better than we are doing today. More athletes can go to the world championships if proper facilities could availed to them locally. World class facilities are still a problem in Botswana and it needs to be addressed for us to start producing more athletes in the likes of Amos, Makwala and Mantle Montsho. Having these facilities will also reduce the financial burden the country is facing of paying exorbitant fees for the athletes to train abroad.
Athletics has proved to be one of the codes that are performing very well therefore it should be given more emphasis to develop it further. I once again call on all parties to come together to provide good facilities for the development of local athletes. I would also like to give a pat on the back to Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) for realising that athletics needs some more assistance for it to continue performing well. The decision to help Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) set up a proper secretariat with a Chief Executive Officer is a welcome development. The move though still on the pipeline is a welcome development as will help the association to be run more professionally to improve further not only the performance but the welfare for the athletes.
It is our wish to see the number of athletes that represent the country at such big events growing in future. This should not be the case only with athletics but all the other sporting codes. Consistent support should be accorded to all these other codes so that they also start performing well to make the nation a sport hub in Southern Africa.
Good Luck Team Botswana!