Minister to tackle Amosí concerns

Lending an ear: The minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng (right) is ready to address Nijel Amos' concern. In the middle is BNSC chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Lending an ear: The minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng (right) is ready to address Nijel Amos' concern. In the middle is BNSC chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Just a day after Nijel Amos threatened to relocate to another country over lack of support from Batswana, the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng has pledged to address the athlete’s concerns.

The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng told Mmegi Sport that Olopeng and Amos met on Tuesday and the latter raised the same concerns. 

“The minister has asked us to investigate the matter. He has directed us to sit down with Amos and talk about all the issues he raised,” said Reikeletseng.

He added the BNSC would report back to the minister tomorrow (Friday) so that the concerns can be dealt with on time. 


“At the end of the day, Amos is our son and it is our duty to help him whenever he needs our help,” he said.

Reikeletseng however indicated that they would assist Amos if the athlete specifies the exact kind of support he needs.

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) spokesperson, Roland Masalila told Mmegi Sport that Amos and other athletes mostly complain about the amount of financial support they receive from government and the BNSC.

“The way we understand it, our athletes need financial support. They compare themselves with athletes from other countries who receive huge financial support from their individual governments,” he said.

Masalila indicated that BAA stands with the athletes on their concerns because the allowance athletes receive when they participate in international competitions is too little.

“We believe the money is too low and the allowance has been standard for years now,” he said.

Masalila however admitted that the BAA has not been doing enough to provide athletes with emotional support when they were away in competitions.

“Support is lacking, they need counselling and mentorship. Some countries send psychologists along with athletes, but in Botswana we don’t do that,” he said.

He said at big competitions like the upcoming Beijing World Championships, IAAF provides everything therefore they are not obliged to send psychologists with the team.

Masalila indicated that the athletes are provided with full medical support and the association, through the BNSC, pays for the athletes’ medical bills.

In terms of providing athletes with incentives when they break records and perform well internationally, Masalila said it was out of BAA’s hands.

“It’s all up to the BNSC and the government. Our hands are tied,” he said.

Amos indicated on Tuesday that the reason they participate in the Diamond League is to earn enough money to survive as athletes.

He said if they were given enough financial support then they would not participate in the Diamond League, but rather create ample time to prepare for big competitions like the World Championships and Olympics.

Amos cited other athletes from European countries who receive huge financial support from their countries and as a result don’t participate in the Diamond League.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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