Local sports fans thronged the Sir Seretse Khama Airport while others lined along the road on Monday to welcome back home the country’s history making Olympic team.
The team, which was composed of four athletes, three track athletes and one boxer, came back into the country to a heroes’ welcome after spending three weeks competing at the London Summer Olympics.
For a team so small, Botswana managed to get two athletes into the finals and won the country’s debut Olympic medal. The medal meant Botswana got position 69 on the medal position despite sending one of the smallest athletes’ contingents to the games.
Upon their arrival at the airport, the team rode in an open truck and was whisked to the University of Botswana Stadium in a motorcade procession that included cars and motorcycles.
At the Stadium, the team got a rousing welcome from well wishers, among them the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Shaw Kgathi, Gaborone Mayor Haskins Nkayigwa, high ranking Government officials as well as leaders of Sports and industries.
Speaking at the UB Stadium, the team’s Head of Delegation, Major Botsang Tshenyego, said the team had done its best to represent the country to the best of its ability. He said apart from their heroics on the field of play, the team’s behavior off the field was outstanding, adding that ‘Batswana won’t hear any negative reports from the team in London.’
“We had sent only a team of four athletes, two of whom reached the finals. This is history for our country,” Major Tshenyego said.
The team’s Chef de Mission said considering that some countries that had sent more athletes had come empty handed from the games, Botswana team’s efforts must be commended.
Welcoming the team back home, Minister Kgathi thanked the athletes’ for their heroics. The Minister also extended gratitude to the parents and teachers for the part they have played in grooming the athletes.
With the Olympics dust now settled, Minister Kgathi said the Government, through his Ministry, will now focus on trying to ensure that Botswana’s success in the international sporting arena continues.
For their part, the athletes thanked Batswana for their unfaltering support, adding that it is through that support that they managed to do well at the games. After the welcome ceremony, the team then did photo and autograph signing opportunities for local supporters. Later in the evening, the team was treated to a welcome dinner with invited guests. After taking a day break on Tuesday, the team will today (Wednesday), embark on a nationwide tour to celebrate with Batswana. The tour is expected to come to an end on Sunday.