Friday, October 23, 2020

Paralympic sprinter Mabote was ‘shunned’

Lack of support has been cited as the reason for local Paralympic sprinter Keatlaretse ‘’Carter”Mabote’s failure to progress at the ongoing 2016 Rio Paralympics, Sunday Standard has learnt.

The Mochudi-born athlete fell short in the first heat of the 400m T12 under partially impaired category after racing to third position behind South African Hilton Langenhoven and German Thomas Ulbricht respectively.

While athletes returning from the recent Rio Olympics were celebrated around the country, it was clear that Mabote was not receiving the same cuddle from sports leaders. Sunday Standard has it in good authority that the sprinter desperately competed at his maiden Paralympics demoralised after a dark cloud hung over his preparations. It was worse that the sprinter took to the track with his worn-out running shoes following lack of proper ones. Close sources have revealed to this publication that Mabote’s pair of shoes arrived a day before his race, only to find that they were not suitable for sprinters.

Unlike his Olympics counterparts whom were graced by appearances in Rio by Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng and Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Solly Reikeletseng, it was a no show for sports leaders during Mabote’s stint in Rio. It has also been revealed to Sunday Standard that Mabote’s send off to the Paralympics was not as colourful as that of his able bodied counterparts and he left for Rio a dejected man.

‘’The situation that Mabote always find himself in while representing the nation is disheartening; he is a disabled athlete who needs support as much as able bodied athletes are pampered. This lack of support has demoralised Mabote. He is also human and was watching how he was treated and how others were being cuddled. Team Botswana that went for the Paralympics is a skeleton one with top government officials turning a blind eye while they graced the Olympics,” said the source.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, Mabote sadly said he could not point a finger at anyone as it is now in the past and cannot do anything about it. ‘’It is true my running shoes arrived late and I could not use them because they were not compatible for sprinters. The shoes were not my size and are only suitable for long distance runners. We had no option but to swap only the studs from the new one to the old shoes because they were worn out,” said Mabote.

The lanky athlete has pulled out of the 200m race which he qualified for with a B standard time. ‘’I cannot compete in the 200m race now because of injury but I am impressed that I managed to clock a personal best time in the 400m race despite failing to make it to the next round,” concluded Mabote.

For his part, Paralympics Association of Botswana (PASSOBO) President David Moatshe said he was not in a position to disclose Mabote’s preparations ahead of the games.

“‘I do not want to sound political but preparations were not what we had wished for. As a nation we need to introspect on how we handle people with disability and it should not only be in sport,” he said.

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