• Silver gets P500 000
• Bronze P250 000
• Final P75 000
Local retail giants Choppies is offering P1m incentives for any Botswana athlete that will win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics that start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 4. Choppies CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu said that those who win a silver medal will get P500 000 pay out while a bronze fetches P250 000. Athletes who will reach the final stages but not win a medal will get P75 000. When announcing the incentives, Ottapathu said this is part of Choppies’ corporate social responsibility. “This is Choppies’ gesture of encouraging the athletes to perform better at the Olympics. We want more of our athletes to finish in medal positions hence the incentives,” said Ottapathu. He said the decision came after a careful engagement with relevant stakeholders.
This is not the first time that Choppies made this gesture, having offered similar incentives during the 2012 London Olympics. This year’s incentives are an improvement from the last as then a gold medallist was given $100 000 (approximately P765 000 then). Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) CEO Tuelo Serufho could not hide his excitement towards this development. He thanked Choppies for their continued support to local sport. Serufho said the Choppies is always the first company to commit to give incentives to athletes. There are, however, concerns that companies only associate themselves with athletes only when they at the Olympics rather than from a development level to prepare them for such events. Coming to the rescue Serufho said Choppies’ incentives come handy because there is no price money from the Olympics. “Since the athletes do not win any money from the competition this is important because it will help them to take keen interest in the Olympics rather than concentrating more on other paying events. Such events result with athletes being worn out when they reach the Olympics and they will not perform well,” he explained.
Botswana will be sending a very strong team to the Olympics with a number of them expected to reach the finals. These include Nijel Amos, the upcoming and promising Baboloki Thebe and the 4 by 400m relay team. In the event that the relay team finishes in a medal position the team will share the money equally.
The Ministry of Youth, Sport & Culture’s Kago Ramokate thanked the Choppies group for the support and interest they have in local sport. Ramokate said Choppies’ commitment goes a long way in helping government to address issues. “As government there is something we offer as incentive to athletes but it is not enough as our resources are stretched across a number of responsibilities,” he said.