Paralympian, Keatlaretse Mabote who has hopes pinned on him to restore the nation’s pride, following the Rio Olympics disappointment by the historic 12 athletes, has hinted work commitments hobbled his preparations for the showdown, set to begin next week Wednesday.
The 26 year old visually impaired runner, classed under T12 will represent the country at the Rio Para- Olympic games. Mabote qualified for the Olympics at Congo Brazzaville’s All Africa Games (AAG) last year, for both the 400 and 200m. However, the hopes of him notching gold in the 400m, though high, may be quashed as he did not have enough time for training. According to him, he had to commute between Mochudi and Gaborone daily, after work for training. He qualified for the 400m at the AAG with an A standard of 51:34 and a B standard for the 200m.
Talking about his preparations on Monday before jetting off to Rio, the Mochudi based athlete decried, “there have been challenges, but BNOC really assisted, they supported me for the international competitions in China and Germany. But then I have been held up by my work in Mochudi because I had to commute every day to Gaborone, so it was affecting me. If I would have been given a month leave it would have been better.”
He added that, “I think Paralympics association could have done better in organizing for the leave but they didn’t, but I will do my best to show that even the disabled can do it.”
The runner has been doing well in the build up to the Rio hosted games, winning a bronze medal at the Para-grand prix in Tunisia and had two weeks training in Potchefstroom with compatriot, Nijel Amos.
Furthermore, like Amos and Baboloki Thebe, the athlete also reported that he has a hamstring injury of which he got in Germany, “But the treatment was not up to scratch especially attendance monitoring. I was assisted by BNSC in the recent COSSASA games as they attended me too when attending others,” he said.
“Keita” as the runner is fondly called is under the tutelage of the veteran coach, Reuben Raj Rathedi who is very optimistic of the runner. The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has not put any “pressure on the athlete”. “We would not want to put one athlete under pressure, but of course we have been happy with his performance. you would be aware that he has been to a couple of international competitions in Tunisia and Germany where he brought back medals. We are quite confident he will do well but how well that would be is the part that we will see when the games begin, but we will be happy provided he exerts himself, whatever he brings we would be happy,” BNOC CEO, Tuelo Serufho said.
The athlete, will just like others, who competed in August games, be entitled to the same incentives that have been offered; P1 million for gold, P500, 0000 for a silver medal, P250, 000 for bronze and P75, 000 for reaching the finals. Mabote is one of the few Para-athletes to represent this country at international level.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.