Makwala to receive Presidential award
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – Former 400m African champion Isaac Makwala will be honoured by his country’s President, Ian Khama during Botswana’s 51st Independence celebrations on September 30.
Makwala drew worldwide sympathy after the IAAF barred him from contesting in the 400m finals during the World Championships in London earlier this month due to a ‘medical condition’. He will receive the Presidential Certificate of Honour from Khama.
The 30 year-old, who holds all national sprint records, was barred after officials said he was suffering from food poisoning despite his protestations that he was well and had not been tested by a medical officer.
He was later allowed to run solo in the 200m heats and qualified for the finals where he finished fifth.
Makwala has already been rewarded with P100,000 which is the cash prize given out to Botswana athletes who win a gold medal at international competitions. President Khama said Makwala deserved the P100,000 as in the eyes of many, he was a winner despite not taking part in the 400m finals.
The presidential award is deserved as Makwala is a former African champion, the first athlete with two one day doubles achieved in Switzerland (2015) and Spain last month.
On September 30, Makwala will be honored alongside with his coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe who will receive the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service. Otsetswe has produced and coached countless talented athletes who include Makwala, former 400m world champion, Amantle Montsho, Nijel Amos, Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda.
Mogogi Gabonamong, a footballer of repute who represented Botswana at all national team levels and also plied his trade in Trinidad and Tobago as well South Africa, will receive the certificate of honour.
He once tried his luck at UK’s biggest side, Manchester United.
Gabonamong was once ranked as the country’s highest paid athlete at over P2million per annum in 2013.
He retired at the end of last season at local side, Township Rollers, bringing the curtain down on a sparkling career. He has played for Engen Santos, Bloemfontein Celtic and Supersport United in South Africa.
Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego will also receive the certificate of honor. Lebotse-Sebego was instrumental in the organisation of the 2017 World Netball Youth Cup which Botswana hosted in July. It was the first time an African country hosted a netball world tournament.
Botswana’s sitting president honor outstanding citizen every year during the country’s independence celebrations.
Other sports persons who have been recipients of the award include former Zebras coach, Stanley Tshosane, who was the first and only coach thus far to take the national team to the first Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon in 2012, Mompati Thuma, who captained the history making side and Diphetogo Selolwane, who had an illustrious football career.