Botswana’s top Paralympics athlete Keatlaretse Mabote is on the brink of sidelining the track. While many athletes quit due to injury or retirement, Mabote’s athletics career will be cut short by frustration surrounding his welfare as a national athlete.
Mabote bemoans lack of support that continues to persist despite several protests by the 400m sprinter. Mabote claims since returning home last September after the Paralympics Games in the Brazilian city, Rio, he has been left in out in the cold without action.
With the World Para Athletics championships ongoing in London, Mabote will miss action after failing to qualify for the games. The sprinter is said to have failed to make it to the games due to lack of competitive qualifying races. Mabote, a T12 visually impaired classification 400m and 200m sprinter unlocked his potential gunning down a medal ahead of the Paralympics Games last year at the Tunis Para athletics meet Grand Prix. The 29-year-old sprinter scooped bronze in both the 200m and 400m races to book a place at last year’s extravaganza.
In what was a disturbing matter at the Paralympics Games last year; Mabote was found wanting when his running shoes arrived late at the games. Worse was that the type of shoes brought to Mabote a few hours before donning national colours on track was not for sprinters but for long distance runners.
With expectations that the mistakes will be rectified, frustrated Mabote told Sunday Standard that since returning from Rio the situation has become worse as he has turned into a spectator without game time and lack of appropriate training.
“It is a disgrace for me that I did not make it to the World championships but honestly no one cares about me as there is nothing in place to assist me to improve as an athlete after showing such potential. Since returning from Rio, there was little for me to do,” Mabote said.
He told this publication that due to failed efforts to lure assistance from relevant authorities, quitting athletics might be an option.
Paralympic Association of Botswana (PASSOBO) president David Moatshe confirmed that they had failed Mabote due to lack of funds. He said they were working on a few logistics that would assist in the return of Mabote in upcoming events.
“Honestly we have failed Mabote due to circumstances beyond our control. We wanted to have Mabote competing in Doha last month but our budget was limited. The athlete has not been training due to lack of scheduled arrangements with regards to funds but we are currently ironing a few issues so that we can also access funding from international bodies that can assist talented athletes of Mabote’s calibre,” Moatshe said.