After knocking on countless doors seeking to be paid their prize for winning the GC Mayor’s marathon, athletes were finally rescued when Choppies’ chief executive officer, Ramachandran Ottapathu cleared the bill.
Athletes had been sent from pillar to post in their bid to get their dues, until Ottapathu’s intervention.
Despite Gaborone mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe’s warning, the defiant athletes approached Ottapathu.
Choppies sponsored the marathon for P500,000 and athletes were baffled why the organisers had failed to pay. According to sources, the sponsor released P380,000 to organisers before the race and a balance of P120, 000 was outstanding.
The 42.2km women’s race winner, Onneile Dintwe said they decided to approach the sponsor and ignore the warning from the mayor. “We had waited for the Office of the President (OP) to intervene, but they were taking long to sort out the matter. Even on Thursday, before meeting Ottapathu, we went to OP, spent hours there but we did not get help,” she said.
Dintwe said it was not their intention to fight with the organisers but all they wanted was their money. She said they depend on the money from races for survival and to prepare for other races.
Dintwe pocketed P50,000
Two Zimbabweans, Samukeliso Moyo and Tabitha Tsatsa who were initially disqualified for getting lost along the route, each received P20,000 for finishing in third position.
While it appears a closed chapter, local athlete, Shepherd Kenatshele who finished third, said he will only believe the matter is settled when the money is credited into his account. Kenatshele is due to receive P20,000.
Meanwhile, Thutlwe said the arrangement has always been that the sponsor will pay the athletes.
“It was made clear during the launch that the sponsor will pay athletes after the race. Unfortunately it took longer than expected. We are going to make sure that this does not happen in the future,” Thutlwe said. The men’s 42.2km race winner, Dikgakgamatso Modisagape was due to receive P50, 000 and Godiraone Nthomphe, who finished second got P30,000.
10km men’s winners: Sylvester Koko (P30,000), Sesebo Matlapeng (P20,000) and Amantle Kekgaretse (P10,000).
Women: Rudo Mnoderwa (P30,000), Maitumelo Gotswakgosi (P20,000) and Gaone Bathoeng (P10,000).