After winning big in Tokyo, capturing a Bronze and with it the nation’s hearts, the men’s 4x400m relay team were the big winners again at a Welcome Back ceremony for Team BW’s Olympians on Wednesday night.
Although he was not present in person, fine-tuning his Diamond League preparations in Poland, Isaac Makwala, 35, reaped just rewards for his sterling effort, his bank balance improving by P202, 000 by the end of the night!
Debswana Company in particular were in generous mood, pledging a whopping P1.5 million to be divided among Team BW’s 14 athletes, seven coaches and two para athletes.
Exactly half of this went to the relay team, whose six members – Makwala, Leungo Scotch, Zibane Ngozi, Bayapo Ndori, Baboloki Thebe and Anthony Pesela – walked away with P125, 000 each.
Handing out more Pula, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) saw it fit to give the entire Olympic Team P504, 000.
Government also got in on the act, revealing they will build the relay team each a two-bedroomed house.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare applauded the country’s 14 Olympians for representing Botswana with dignity on the international stage.
“You made the nation proud and brought hope during these difficult times of Covid-19,” he commended.
Saving special praise for the relay squad, Rakgare described their ‘brilliant’ third-place finish as the ‘icing on the cake’.
“This is only our second Olympic medal since our maiden appearance at the 1980 games. For that we are grateful!’ he said.
Breaking down the numbers, Rakgare revealed, “Immediately upon qualifying for the Olympics, each athlete received a monthly allowance of P8, 333 for welfare and upkeep. Furthermore, all athletes who qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were rewarded with P25, 000 and the coaches P10, 000 each. Sport is a rewarding but short career, therefore athletes must optimise on income that you earn during your active careers.”