Bringing home the apex of sporting accolades ÔÇô a games medal ÔÇô pays you far much less in Botswana as compared to other countries. Although it is at the discretion of national federations to reward athletes based on performance during and after the games, it has since emerged that rival federations may be giving their medal winning athletes better incentives when compared to Botswana.
As it stands, local athletes are paid P100 000 for winning gold in international competitions, P75 000 for silver and P50 000 for a bronze medal.
Sunday Standard has established that Jamaican athletes competing at the games were promised $20 000 for Gold medal, $9 000 for silver and $5 000 for bronze medal. The likes of host nation Australia, Canada and India emerged premier in the monetary rewards at the games. Australia rewards Gold medallists with $60 000 while silver medallists take home $25 000 and $10 000 for bronze medallists.
While Canada awards the same amount as Australia for silver and bronze medals, the Gold medallists pocket $50 000. Third on the list, India awards $35 000 to Gold medallist and $18 000 to silver medallist with bronze medallist pocketing $7 600. Courtesy of winning gold medals at the games, Amantle Montsho and Isaac Makwala are expected to be given P100 000 each from the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) while silver medallist Baboloki Thebe is expected to pocket P75 000.
With such low incentives, it has since emerged that some athletes have decided to prioritise money laden competitions ahead of national glory.
Sunday Standard has learnt that ahead of the Commonwealth Games, some of the local top athletes contemplated against competing at the games with a mission to avoid injuries and prepare for the more lucrative IAAF Diamond League circuit scheduled to begin in May. Winning an individual event at one of the Diamond league meeting can earn an athlete up to $10 000.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) mouthpiece Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said athletes will be awarded incentives accordingly based on performance. “We believe the BNSC will award our stars accordingly and we are hoping to get support from other stakeholders in the private sector to bring something in the table to appreciate performances that were displayed by our athletes at the commonwealth games,” said Ramatshaba.
However, Ramatshaba downplayed the matter that they pleaded with some athletes to compete after they voiced intensions to snub the games. “We have never had a challenge with any of our athletes as nothing official reached our office,” Ramatshaba said curtly.