Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Olympics drain mental strength of athletes

With all of Botswana’s female representatives at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics eliminated in the heats, Batswana have been asking themselves several questions as to how or what may have caused all that. Despite the athletes giving it their all, that did not give them the golden ticket to the finals in their respective races. 

According to Dr. Tshepang Tshube Senior Lecturer, Sport & Exercise Psychology Department of Sport Science, in the Faculty of Education at the University of Botswana all female athletes at the Tokyo 2020 were eliminated in the first round and this can be attributed to four reasons.

“It is a huge disappointment for Botswana and these athletes to be eliminated in the first round. Note that these athletes were some of the first to qualify for the games. This elimination hurts their confidence and mostly for Christine Botlogetswe who was also eliminated in the first round at the 2016 Olympic games,” opined Tshube.

When asked on what he thinks may be the cause of the athletes not going through to the next round, Tshube had this to say “For Keamogetswe Kenosi, there were media reports about two months to the games indicating of conflicts between the athlete and her coach. There were also reports of weight being over the category she qualified for! Coach-athlete relation is very crucial for performance.”

Tshube further added that he suspects that there was lack of trust and respect between these two individuals which had a significant impact on performance. He said “A healthy coach-athlete relationship is characterized by closeness, commitment, and complimentary between the athlete and the coach.   The coach and the athlete should intentionally develop a positive relationship.”

“As for Amantle Montsho, Christine Botlogetse, and Galefele Moroko there are three primary reasons for this dismal performance. These three athletes were the first to qualify for the games. Following their qualification, they never got competitions most of the year,” he observed.

Moreover, Tshube highlighted that lack of competition time could be one of the reasons for their dismal performance. He said “In addition, the few competitions they had, they clocked poor times. Moroko and Botlogetswe have reported injuries including a few weeks prior to the games. They never got any chance to recover from these injuries.” 

“The team leadership needs to tighten regulations on athletes’ indiscipline. They need to completely stop taking alcohol, train hard to focus on their sport,” he added.

In terms of mental strength, he opined on how these athletes can be assisted to get back on their feet. He said “These athletes will need a comprehensive mental training program that emphasizes building confidence, goal setting, and mental toughness.” 

“Elimination in the first round hurts their confidence and they need support to re-build it,” he added.

Furthermore, when asked on how age can be a determinant in one’s career, Tshube said he does not think body structure had anything to do with their performance. He said “Montsho is 38 years old and by far one of the oldest athletes in the 400m. I do not think she was committed to these games at all.”

Tshube was further asked on how in terms of training and preparation for such events, what is normally under looked, he said “These games were unique due to COVID-19, however, the team had an entire month of training in Japan. I believe they should have used it to finetune their skills.”

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