Africa’s 400m record holder, Isaac Makwala will pocket P20, 000 cash under the government’s athletes’ incentive for achieving the continental feat.
Makwala was the holder of the African record after running 44.01 in 2014, but the mark was eclipsed by South African, Wayde van Niekerk, who lost on Saturday. Makwala reclaimed his record on Sunday with a blistering 43:72.
The Director of Sports and Recreation in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, Falcon Sedimo said the ministry introduced incentives as a means to motivate local athletes. He said the incentives depend on the type of competition the athlete wins. He said the funds are meant for competitions sanctioned by the Botswana National Sports Council, Botswana National Olympic Committee and IAAF.
Sedimo told Mmegi Sport that they are still waiting for the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) to submit a report on Makwala’s victory.
“We have had other athletes receiving incentives before. You must be aware that in the past we did not have such an arrangement and in future the prize money would increase,” he said.
Makwala will receive P20,000 for breaking a continental record.
When an athlete wins a regional competition, they pocket P10,000, while the amount at international level is P100, 000. International competitions cover World Championships and Olympic Games.
The BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho said they were excited with Makwala’s achievement. He said the achievement brings hope for another good finish in the World Championships in Beijing, China next month.
Serufho also said the BNOC would soon be rolling out the Diamond Athlete Programme. He said the programme is aimed at elite athletes, adding that local talent is not in dispute. Serufho also said the programme was put in place to engage athletes and provide them with financial management amongst other things.
He said when athletes are idle they might transgress, adding that the programme is a complete support system for athletes.
“During the programme, athletes will have access to psychologists and physiotherapists. We do not want a situation whereby they get injured during off-season. We have been working on the start and stop practice and want to change that. Athletes must not wait for competitions in order for them to start training,” he said.