BNSC rejects Makwala’s P40,000 claim

Unamused: Makwala failed in his P40,000 claim for breaking records. PIC: LUCY NICHOLSON (REUTERS)
Unamused: Makwala failed in his P40,000 claim for breaking records. PIC: LUCY NICHOLSON (REUTERS)

Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has made a U-turn on its promise to pay Isaac Makwala P40,000 for setting continental records in 2014 and 2015.

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) general manager, Pinkie Wilson, wrote to Makwala indicating the request for a cash reward could not be acceded to. "The association appreciates and recognises the Africa records that you set in 2014 and 2015 respectively in Switzerland. However, we regret to inform you that our request was not acceded to as both events were not national team assignments.

The incentives package for national team players policy rewards athletes/players/officials who are on national team duties,” the letter reads in part. Makwala did a double in 200m and 400m at the Resisprint International meeting in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds. He obliterated his 400m PB with 44.01. In the 200m, Makwala stopped the clock at 19.96.

The performance took him to third on the African all-time list. In 2015, Makwala continued with his brilliant run when, in less than 24 hours after South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk broke his African record with 43.96 at the Diamond League meeting in Paris, France, Makwala took it back with a sensational 43.72 run at the Resisprint meeting in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds. Botswana National Sport Commission (BNOC) chief executive officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho told Mmegi Sport the events fall outside the current policy. “The challenge is that the events at which he set the records fall outside of what is covered by the current policy,” Serufho said. For his part, Makwala said he was shocked by the decision. “Which ones are in the policy? Then why did I qualify with those races if they are not in the policy? I fail to understand,” he said.

Makwala argued that he does not understand why it is being said that he was not in the national team because when he set the African record in 2014, he was preparing for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The 2015 performance was ahead of the IAAF world championships in Beijing, China. “We always qualify for major games before we are called for the national team camp but they never say they do not recognise our times because we were not in the national team,” argued Makwala.

He wondered why it was difficult to recognise his achievements and that there was something he was not being told. In a previous interview, BNSC had promised the athlete would be rewarded P40,000 for breaking both the 200m and 400m records as the events were sanctioned by World Athletics. Makwala was delayed in submitting his request, but that was not a factor in the rejection of the claim.

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