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IOC boosts local athletes


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) through its International Solidarity Programme will assist five local athletes to represent this country with dignity at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.


Acting Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lame Ramokate said they submitted 15 names to be considered for the programme and the IOC had picked only five.


”They recognised the best talent from the list that we submitted, hence the five names,’’ she said.


The athletes who will be helped through this initiative are Issac Makwala, Kabelo kgosiemang, Pako Seribe, Naomi Ruele and Nigel Amos. Except for swimming sensational Ruele, who notched a silver medal at the Youth Games in May, all the selected athletes competed at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, earlier this year but did not live up to expectations as only Amos was able to redeem this nation by securing  a gold medal in the 800m race.


The Solidarity programme is IOC’s vehicle to help enterprising nations prepare well for the world’s most- watched sports festival. The organisation caters for coaching, medicine, transportation and boarding for athletes ahead of the showpiece. The athletes have also embraced the programme as they regard it as a welcome spring-board that could help them reap the desired results at the Rio Olympics in 2016.


‘’I should be at my peak by 2016 and with a programme like this giving us much incentives, I believe I will do well once there (in Brazil) because it will help me spend a lot of the time with my mentor ahead of the Games,’’ said the 2012 London Olympic Games silver medallist Amos on Wednesday.


Makwala, who made his maiden appearance at the IAAF Diamond League this year where he put up an impressive performance, said he has attained his present status because of this programme on which  he has been a regular participant for the past eight years.


 It is for this reason he feels elated to be enrolled on the programme at a time when he is in top form.


The athletes are expected to start enjoying the benefits from next year. A number of the locals have been beneficiaries of this programme. They include, among others, 400m queen Amantle Montsho and Onalenna Baloyi of 800m who represented the country well in the international arena.
 

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