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Athletes' great feat should motivate equal funding

Local sports lovers’ hearts this week were all ‘white’. Our athletes competing at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia did the country proud by garnering gold and silver medals.

We fully concur with the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng that these are exciting times in the history of the country’s athletics. He was speaking at the Mascom Top 8 Awards after Isaac Makwala and Amantle Montsho sent Botswana into cloud nine by clinching gold medals in men and women’s 400m this week.

Also making us proud was the youngster Baboloki Thebe, who finished with a silver medal behind Makwala. We will not forget the splendid performance by one of our athlete, Christine Botlogetswe who was making a debut at the Games and finished at number four.

Our hope and encouragement is that Botlogetswe and other athletes do notdespair and see theirs as a learning curve. This is the beginning of good things to come. Success is knocking and next time it will be them celebrating with our beautiful flag after winning gold medals.

They should learn from Montsho who made the biggest comeback after a two-year doping ban. This should be a lesson to them never to give up in life.

As a nation, we are very proud of these athletes, and we agree with the Minister that investment in sports is for generations yet unborn. Companies like Mascom, Orange, Debswana, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation and others should continue their invaluable investments in


The feats by these athletes is a clarion call to the powers-that-be  to be disabused from the notion that only football deserves a larger slice of the cake while excelling codes scramble for crumbs from the dining table. Yes, it is common cause that football is the biggest constituency not only in Botswana but the whole world. But in Botswana there is nothing to celebrate as far as football results are concerned. Over the years, we have witnessed sparkling performances from the country’s codes such as athletics, netball, karate, chess and volleyball and these codes have been making the right noise for fair distribution of the sports budget.

These codes are not necessarily advocating for soccer to be starved of funds. They simply are saying we are here and our performances speak for us. Even a blind man can see their sterling performance. These codes have been ignored for far too long and it is high time there is a radical paradigm shift in the distribution of resources to sports codes. On that, note we also send a hearty shout-out to our heroic sports men and women in Australia.


Today’s thought 

“We are committed to the development of sport because sport unites people, and it is a sustainable source of employment.” 

– Minister Thapelo Olopeng




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