As the World watches on, the whole of Botswana will be looking at the five athletes that we have sent to represent the country. Botswana will be represented in only two sporting codes, namely Athletics and Boxing. As much as we had wanted to send more athletes in different various codes, it was not to be. The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) even extended qualifying deadlines with a view to having more qualifiers, but to no avail. We ended up with five representatives, Amantle Montsho for the 400 metres, Pako Seribe for the 400 metres, Nigel Amos for the 800 metres, Isaac Makwala for the 800 metres and Oteng Oteng for Boxing.
When the qualifying period started, the BNOC had hopes of at least 20 representatives, with a possibility of five medals. That did not happen. We ended up with five representatives and looking at a possible two medals, although we are hoping for more. From the make up of the team, the most likely medal prospects are with Amantle Montsho, who has been dominating in her discipline over the past few years as well as Oteng Oteng who has been doing well in his division. If the soft speaking predator Oteng gets a favourable draw in the opening rounds, he could go a long way. He has proven to be a tough character and he is a genuine contender. Montsho on the other hand, is a certainty for a medal, barring any unfortunate injuries or incidents. She is the favourite for the 400 metres and her recent exploits in both continental and world events have gone a long in alerting the world of her abilities and she is a threat to everyone in the discipline. For me, Montsho is a certainty for a medal, hopefully GOLD. The other contenders in Makwala, Amos and Seribe should also not be looked down on. They have earned their stripes and with a bit of luck, they can go a long way. Appearances at the Finals will be major achievements.
I remember the attention that Glody Dube received when he went to the finals of the 800 metres at the Sidney Olympics. The whole nation stood still and watched the finals. Although he did not get a medal, Dube had done the country proud by qualifying for the finals. Now it is our time, we need to get a medal. Past participants have tried their best and their best was not good enough for medals, and with the team that we have sent to London, the nation is expectant. Amantle Montsho should be feeling the pressure, but knowing her, she will take it in her stride. Afterall she has done it at the highest level under the same pressure. Imagine the euphoria that will grip the nation when Montsho, or any of the other athletes goes to that podium to get their medals. I can’t wait.
I must commend the BNOC for all they have done to make everything smooth for the team. Negroes Kgosidiile and Tuelo Serufho and their team at the BNOC have been in action and making sure that all is in place for the Olympians. There is no point in crying over spilt milk. We had wanted to have about 20 representatives and that did not happen, so we just had to look on ahead and try as much as possible to help those who qualified.
I also wish to commend some of the corporates that have come on board and sponsored the team; these include G4S, Debswana, Choppies to name but three. These are good examples of what corporates should do: put their money where their mouths are. We might have different opinions of their sponsorship packages, but atleast they did put something on the table. Well done.
All that having been said, all the best to our team and do us proud.