Red-hot 400-metre runner, Christine Botlogetswe has been dominant on the track this year, improving her time in seven of her eight races. She has proven even more slippery when it comes to media interviews.
The athlete has turned down several media interviews following a well-trodden path by local athletes, despite efforts by the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) to ensure athletes are available for interviews. Mmegi Sport's latest effort to profile the rising 22-year-old’s journey, hit a brick wall this week.
BAA public relations officer, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said they have always advised elite athletes to grant the media interviews.
“Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) always conduct induction courses for them. I am surprised that Botlogetswe refused to talk to you,” Ramatshaba said.
International Brand Management manager at Brand Botswana, Thuso Palai said as part of their agreement with BNOC, they organised a course for elite athletes before they left for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“The course was meant to assist elite athletes to handle the media better and to be open. Some of them have changed, but unfortunately some are still rigid. We still need more courses and we hope that they would change,” Palai said.
He said elite athletes must always remember that they are
Sports Writers Association of Botswana (SWABO) president, Leatile Mmutle said they are concerned about athletes who fail to avail themselves for interviews. “Most of those who refuse interviews are those who do not have good oratory skills. This calls on sport bodies to change strategy and be more focused on an athletes-centred approach,” Mmutle said.
He said press conferences and sporting activities should be centred on athletes. Mmutle said the public would like to hear stories about athletes from athletes themselves not administrators. Isaac Makwala, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has remained one of the few athletes who are readily available for media interviews.
Botlogetswe has had a blazing start to the year, and won the 4x400m bronze at the Gold Coast Commonwealth, in a blossoming season, in which she is fast emerging from her cocoon.