Botswana fumes over Makwala treatment
By Bakang Mhaladi
Gaborone – Botswana has said all stones will be turned in the quest for justice after former 400m African champion, Isaac Makwala, was barred from competing at the IAAF World Championships in London due to a “medical condition”.
Addressing journalists in Gaborone, Botswana’s Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng said they will even consider the legal route and won’t “let off IAAF easily”.
Botswana was left fuming after their medal hopeful, Makwala was barred from the 200m heats and 400m finals after IAAF officials perceived he was suffering from food poisoning.
But the athlete said no tests had been conducted and he was feeling fine to compete. Irate Botswana is now demanding full answers from IAAF.
“You can’t pronounce certain illnesses without testing the patient. He was told that he had the virus but according to medical professionals testing has to be done in order determine that he had the virus,” Olopeng said.
He said they cannot talk about sabotage from IAAF at the moment until they receive an explanation from the world athletics body.
“Makwala was not examined, just one episode of vomiting that can be caused by various elements. The nation is worried about what happend. I have instructed the officials to put a formal protest to make sure that as a country we are respected.”
The minister told journalists, the country’s President, Ian Khama is also concened about the issue.
Olopeng said they will get to the bottom of the matter as the nation is ‘really’ concerned about the matter.
“We cant tolerate such behaviour from an organization such as IAAF. We can even go the legal route,” Olopeng said.
The minister said Makwala had been humiliated and now it is up to IAAF to decide what to do to rectify the situation.
“We won’t leave IAAF easily,” OIopeng said. “It’s not an issue of whether he had the virus or not but the IAAF approach. How did they come to their conclusion without testing the athlete.”
IAAF medical officials said they didn’t conduct tests after they determined that Makwala had symptoms of the virus that attacked athletes.
Makwala, who was supposed to quarantine for 48hours, tried to fight his way into the track but found his accreditation had been cancelled and was turned away by security.