By Anita Rannoba
A sports and exercise Physician, Dr Lesedinyana Odiseng, says he has grave concerns over the way athletes are being treated by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development and the Botswana sporting fraternity.
In a clear cut warning to the sports leadership Dr Odiseng said the neglect of athletes’ health is likely to have an effect on their lives and performances. The renowned physician who has been involved in athletes’ health for over a decade says athletes are being put in harm’s way because sports administrators are turning a blind eye to their plight as they only care about them obtaining medals.
“My biggest problem is that they do not have a system in place on how athletes can access what they need,” Dr Odiseng said. He also said since associations are autonomous units, the responsible minister is needed to make a directive to form a medical board to deal with issues concerning health and injuries of athletes.
From the time he came on board as the sports and exercise Physician, he said he has been in talks with Minister Thapelo Olopeng for at least three times now and his response has been that his officers do not follow instructions when he gives them.
Amongst other things he said the worst crime they did as sport administrators was during the World Championships in London were they totally ignored local doctors but chose to appoint a masseuse and a chiropractor whom were white foreigners to be the sole medical team for team Botswana. He says this decision was ill-informed because there were several other local doctors who were much more professional and had institutional knowledge of the athletes.
“I have said this a couple of times to the administrators that even my dogs receive far much better health care than athletes in Botswana,” said Dr. Odiseng .
He also said he does not see things improving with the current leadership and suggested that people like Tebogo Lebotse- Sebego and Tsoseletso Magang must be taken on board as they are dedicated to sport, intelligent and have played sport at the highest level.