Commonwealth Games double gold medalist, Isaac Makwala has called for a shift in support for athletes, with emphasis on development, rather than elite athletics.
Speaking to Mmegi Sport today, Makwala said it is unfortunate companies only focus on elite athletes.
“Sponsorship must start at grassroots level as a way of motivation. I was lucky because when I started my career, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) was assisting me. But for some, it is difficult,” he said.
Makwala said preparations are difficult and take longer, which include qualification. He said as they start preparing for Tokyo 2020, companies must come on board and assist.
“When we are at the Olympics, we no longer need them that much,”
Meanwhile, regarding rewards from companies for the Commonwealth team, Makwala said the practice has always been that only those who make it to the final are rewarded.
“The government gave the entire relay team incentives but unfortunately companies did not follow suit. It is not good and we should all be rewarded. Karabo Sibanda and Nijel Amos were rewarded the same amount like us even though they did not run,” he said.
Makwala said he would not have minded being left out had he not won a medal.