10 August 2017

Botswana: Govt to Consult On Makwala

Gaborone — Botswana is consulting legal minds on the Isaac Makwala saga, says Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng.

Briefing the media on the issue on August 9, Olopeng said they were concerned by the way the world athletics governing body, IAAF handled the issue.

IAAF medical officials withdrew the 400 metres runner from the final after allegations that he was diagnosed with an infectious disease.

Olopeng said the government had expected the IAAF to handle the issue in a professional manner but failed.

"According to our assessment after getting information from our team accompanying our athletes in the UK, the IAAF failed to handle the case in a professional manner," said Olopeng, adding that "you cannot pronounce certain illnesses without proper examination."

The minister said according to medical experts, there was a process to follow to make a determination whether one had the virus, noting that the athlete was never examined.

Furthermore, he said the IAAF took a drastic decision after only one episode of vomiting, adding that other medical experts said it could be caused by anxiety.

Olopeng said the athlete was fit and that he insisted that he wanted to line up for the 400 metres final.

Olopeng also noted that Botswana representatives at the London competitions wrote a letter to the IAAF medical commission to release Makwala to compete, and that they failed to respond.

"The nation is worried and I instructed the officials to put an official protest because we have to make sure that we are respected and treated equally."

He said President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama also called me to find out what was happening at the IAAF World Championships.

The minister promised that they would probe the issue until the IAAF provided concrete answers.

He said the nation had high expectations on Makwala because he was on top form, adding that had they allowed him to compete, he would have made it to the podium.

"It's a fact Makwala prepared well this season to win a medal and we can't tolerate this kind of decisions from a reputable organisation like IAAF," he added.

He said the legal minds would advise on what action could be taken to put the matter to rest.

Youth empowerment, sport and culture development permanent secretary, Kago Ramokate pleaded with Batswana to support the athlete, adding that some of the comments by Batswana on social media left a lot to be desired.

Source : BOPA

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