The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has written off Onkabetse Nkobolo's chances of returning to the track after the athlete suffered a career-changing car accident last year March.
The accident left the athlete in a wheelchair. Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) launched an investigation into the accident which occurred after Nkobolo and Baboloki Thebe sneaked out of camp. The report has not been made public. BNOC acting chief executive officer (CEO), Wedu Motswetla told Mmegi Sport that as far as they know, the athlete was permanently disabled. “The athlete was released from the hospital and was never reported ill except what we all know that he was permanently disabled,” she said. BAA vice president, Oabona Theetso said while the investigation into the accident was complete, the contents of the reports were not for public consumption. “I cannot tell you the recommendations now.
Everything regarding the accident will come as a package when the time is right,” he said. The accident left Nkobolo with spinal shock and as a result, did not have sensation in his lower body.
Thebe walked away with minor injuries and a fine.
He went on to represent the country at last month's Tokyo Olympic Games and was part of the 4x400m team that won bronze. According to information reaching this publication, athletics team massage therapist, Kabo Molefe has volunteered to assist the athlete with physiotherapy. “The authorities are not doing anything for the guy. Initially, there was an arrangement for him but that fell off. He was taken for diamond sorting training but that proved difficult for him because he stopped attending rehabilitation. But now Molefe took him back.
He is currently assisting him at his practice at Molapo Crossing,” a source said.
The source wondered what BNOC had done about Nkobolo’s condition because they reached a conclusion that he is permanently disabled. “What other options do they have? They should at least take him to other countries for a second opinion rather than condemning him,” a source said. For his part, Molefe said all he is doing is to assist where he could and it has nothing to do with sport authorities. Molefe said when he started rehabilitating Nkobolo, he was informed that his condition was irreversible. “I did not give up because I believed that something would happen.
After a few sessions, he was able to press his cell phone and turn himself when sleeping. He was even responding to stimuli,” he said. Molefe said if Nkobolo was exposed to rehabilitation, which had proper equipment such as a rehab mill, he could be far.
He said Nkobolo's process was disturbed when BNOC decided to take him for diamond sorting training. “He has not been coming for sessions for two months. It is a drawback and now the process has slowed down. We should try as much as possible to make sure that he is independent. We cannot give up now,” Molefe said.