Gaborone — President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama announced yesterday (August 10) that Isaac Makwala will be rewarded with P100 000 for his exploits in the 400m event at the IAAF World Championships.
A controversial International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) temporary ban due to alleged illness robbed Makwala a chance to run for gold medal in the 400m final in London on August 8.
The Botswana National Sports Commission incentives system provides for P100 000 reward to teams or individuals winning gold medals for the country in international competitions.
Addressing a High Level Consultative Council in Gaborone on August 10, President Khama declared that Makwala will get the money.
He said Makwala deserved the reward and criticised IAAF for unfair treatment of the athlete.
"His name has appeared all over the world in the recent 24 hours on all news channels arising from what I considered to be his unfair disqualification from participating in 200 and 400m events. I say unfair because it is nothing that I will have expected from an international organisation like the IAAF," President Khama said.
He said the way IAAF treated Makwala has caused great concern around the world and the government of Botswana was equally disturbed.
"I would like to commend the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (Development) and our officials who are in London for taking the lead in contacting IAAF over this treatment. As you are aware, those interventions were successful partly in that, he was allowed to attempt to qualify for the semifinals of 200m which he ran last night (Wednesday)," he added.
Even though Makwala eventually managed to qualify for the 200m final, President Khama complained that the Botswana athlete was forced to go through a lot of distress.
He said it was tough for the athlete to run alone compared to competing with others.
"But he came through to qualify for the semi-finals before he put on outstanding performance in the semi-finals. So really, he displayed tremendous courage and determination on his behalf and on behalf of this nation and it is something I feel needs to be rewarded for," he said.
President Khama said while Makwala did not win the 400m gold medal, he deserved the P100 000 reward because he was barred from running through no fault of his own.
He added that whatever medal Makwala wins in 200m, a public holiday will be declared as tribute to his achievement.
Source : BOPA