9 August 2017

Botswana: Makwala Misses Double

Gaborone — The world came to a standstill on August 7 after the athletics governing body IAAF medical delegate announced Botswana 400 metres Isaac Makwala will not line up for the IAAF World Championships 200 metre heat and 400 finals, after being diagnosed with an infectious disease.

Makwala, who was seen as South African runner Wayde Van Niekerk's rival, qualified for the 400 metres finals with impressive times, and could not line up for the 200 metres heat on August 7.

Since he started competing in major competitions including the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and IAAF World Championships, Makwala had never won a medal.

And some athletics pundits are of the view, that this time Makwala prepared well and had he not withdrawn from the finals, he stood a good chance to win a medal.

According to a press release from IAAF, as per UK health regulations, it was requested that Makwala be quarantined in his room for 48 hours.

It says the procedures are recommended by Public Health England and were clearly explained to the teams in writing on August 6 and in person to the Botswana delegation, a member of which was present with many other representatives of teams at a meeting that took place at the Guoman Tower Hotel on that day.

Furthermore, the release says the decision to withdraw him from the 200m heats and the 400m final was made on the basis of a medical examination conducted in the warm-up medical centre by a qualified doctor on August 7 and recorded in the electronic medical record system of the championships.

A copy of this medical record was given to a member of the Botswana team medical staff following the examination.

"The team doctor, team leader and team physio had been informed following the medical examination that the athlete should be quarantined for 48 hours and would therefore be missing the 400m final," says the release.

However the decision did not sink well with the athlete, as he went to the stadium, only to be denied entry by the security.

And the fact that Team Botswana did not travel with a psychologist to the games is seen by many as a blunder as the psychologist could have assisted the athlete to come to terms with IAAF shenanigans.

However, sport psychology lecture at the University of Botswana, Dr Tshepang Tshube said in an interview Makwala's exclusion from the 200 and 400m had an immediate and significant impact on his psychological state.

In addition to the exclusion, he said the uncertainly and a feeling of helplessness also had an impact on the athlete.

The situation, he said could cause anxiety, anger, sadness and even depression, adding that uncertainty was one of the predictors of anxiety, particularly at games.

Further, Dr Tshube said this was even more devastating for Makwala because he was at the peak of his career.

The 400m outcome, he said was so significant and fundamentally important for Makwala' s legacy, adding it was therefore important for Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) to demand full explanation for Makwala to have closure.

Source : BOPA

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