Amantle Montsho deserves the celebration.
She also deserves the money that she earned through her determined efforts on the track at school, in Gumare, in local competitions and her latest performances in New Delhi and South Korea.
Money widens the opportunities for young people. Without proper guidance it can also be destructive.
In many instances it is not spent by the people who earn it on the stage or on the track. It is all too often spent by the taggers on who see an economic opportunity in the athlete or the artist.
The artists and the athletes work very hard until their sell by date expires, and then they discover that they have saved nothing. Invariably, they have not invested in anything.
The likes of Muhammad Ali were fortunate that before Elijah Muhammad and others dug too deep into his pocket he was able to save some of what he had earned.
John Carlos, the first of three Afro American athletes who raised their fists to affirm ‘black power’ at the 1968 Olympics were not as fortunate. They made a positive point for black liberation and for lack of awareness of personal handling of earnings.
Excellence is not a new discovery in Botswana sport.
Willie Denison was among the best 10 or 20 soccerites that the country produced. He died a man of little means despite his service in government and the Zebras for years.
It was Seretse Khama who gave him a cow for his magic at an international match, presumably an Independence Day match against his friend, Kenneth Kaunda’s Chipolopolo at the National Stadium. It is rumoured that he turned down several offers by Kaizer Chiefs to take him to South Africa because he loved his country and feared the other country.
Neither his love nor fear put money in his pocket for his pension or death.
Amantle should be encouraged to run and go to school when she is not doing that.
Most importantly, she will find both emotion and financial counselling a valuable asset in the not so distant future.