When the four member team made its entry at the Official Opening ceremony led by Amantle Montsho most Batswana were glued to our television sets and hoped for the best for all our athletes. We had been made to believe that all had been done to ensure that the athletes are at their best and I was confident that, ‘re tla a ja sengwe’.
My expectations on the four Olympians was that Montsho would be in the Medals, Oteng Oteng would make the latter rounds and Isaac Makwala and Nijel Amos would make it to the semi-finals and at best the finals. Well, things turned out differently. Oteng was robbed in his first round fight. I’m not a boxing judge but I sill can’t comprehend how he lost the second and third rounds of his bout. That was daylight robbery. He however fought his heart out and I must say he was very unlucky. Call me bitter, but Oteng did not lose that fight. As for Isaac Makwala, he had a tough draw in the heats and finished 4th, not making it past the early stages. Our Olympic medal hopeful Amantle Montsho breezed through her heats and the semi-finals. And the expectation was that she would ease through to a medal position. Amantle Montsho, who I was confident would win a medal, finished a disappointing fourth. Get me right, fourth position in an Olympics Final is a great achievement, but for Montsho, who was one of the favourites and at her peak, it was disappointing. Then came all the revelations about her personal trainer not being in London.
I must say I was rather disappointed that the Minister of Youth Sport and Culture and the BNOC held a press conference here in Gaborone to focus on 'other’ things while in London, Nijel Amos was preparing for a final the following day. I say other things because to me it was premature to host a press conference, moreso that no answers were available for the journos’questions. For starters, I still don’t know why the press conference was called because the Olympics were not yet over and we still had a competitor who had not finished his events. In the end, the press conference only served to cause more confusion and reveal dirt and some incompetence. Nothing was cleared and more questions rather than questions came out. Basic questions like; why was the press conference held while the Olympics were still on? Why was Amantle Montsho’s personal trainer not at the Olympics? How many officials were in the Botswana delegation that went to the Olympics, were not answered. Social media and radio talk shows were abuzz with talk on the issue. Instead of focussing on Amos and giving maximum exposure, attention was unnecessarily diverted elsewhere. While all this was going on Nijel Amos was a side show. But a strong boy he is, he just took all this in his stride, put it aside and went on to make the country proud. Amos went to the Finals on top form having done well in recent international competitions. He was a bit of a dark horse and surprised many, including me.
At the end of the day we should not let the side shows take away the gloss off the performance of the team. Oteng was robbed and Makwala got a tough draw, Montsho just needed a bit of luck and she would have been in the medals, and Amos, at the tender age of 18, became the toast of the nation, winning Botswana first ever medal at the Olympics.
When Team Botswana went to London, the target was two medals, and we only got one. Not a bad achievement. Now is the time to start preparing for the next Olympics, ‘mosele wa pula o epiwa go sa le gale’. To the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, the Botswana National Olympic Committee, the Botswana National Sports Council, sponsors and other relevant stakeholders, well done and the time is now to start preparing for Rio2016. Let’s start putting money on young athletes so that by 2016 they are ready and well grilled to emulate Nijel Amos and bring more medals. The nation is yearning for more. I have started saving and God willing I will also be Rio De Janeiro, in my vest and shorts, cheering Amos and his other teammates.