Saturday, July 31, 2021

Makwala slams BNSC

Botswana’s decorated 400m sprinter Isaac Makwala has decried sabotage from local sports mother body Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC). The sprinter hinted that despite doing his best for the country, the sports commission shies away from recognizing his efforts as an elite athlete representing the country.

Airing his discontent on his social media page, Makwala said representing the country pains him more than individual races do for him. He opined the BNSC may have something against him, which as a professional athlete he does not understand. 

“Representing the country for me is a serious burden that it is even hard for me to carry the national flag after winning. As much as it is an Olympic year and everyone wants to bring a medal home, the way I am treated at the BNSC just demoralizes me,’’ said Makwala.

He said it is better to compete in individual races that brings food to the table unlike national competitions that they get peanuts after races. 

“It is a fact that we get little from doing national duty. Imagine getting P50 daily allowance for national camp and being expected to make a living out of it! It is really depressing,” the athlete said.

“Competing in the individual IAAF Diamond league competitions is rewarding better for one to make a living. As much as we want medals from the Olympics, we cannot reserve energy for only them as we want to make a living from other races,’’ an aggrieved Makwala said.

‘Badman,’ as Makwala is affectionately called, further said throughout his achievements since 2015, the BNSC has failed to honour him with the best sportsperson of the year. 

“Even though I was awarded the sportsman of the year in 2017, I was surprised that a badminton referee was awarded the sportsperson of the year and yet at that time I had no match across sporting codes. I just don’t know what I have done to be treated in this manner,’’ said Makwala.

While it is said that breaking continental records comes with monetary incentives, Makwala revealed that he is still awaiting payment from the BNSC for breaking records in 2014 and 2015. 

“I have indicated my concerns with the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and the BNSC is aware but everything is stuck now because it is Makwala seeking payment. It is so bad that even representing the country is for the sake of youngsters so that they keep heads up for their careers,’’ said Makwala.

Meanwhile, ahead of the much-anticipated Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Makwala has hit top form with his last race in Poland witnessing the 34-year-old clocking his season best.

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