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President Mokgweetsi Masisi over the independence holidays honoured sportspersons who have represented the country outstandingly. Masisi awarded Presidential Order for Meritorious Service awards to Letsile Tebogo, Tokyo 4 *4 Men’s Athletics Team 2021 and Botswana Senior Women National Team ‘The Mares.’
The Presidential Order of Meritorious Service is an honor awarded to any person for their action of services benefiting Botswana or any community, or organisation therein in any particular field or sphere and for any acts of courage or devotion to duty. The awards reflect the nation’s gratitude and serves as a testament to the dedication and services that define local citizens.
Letsile Tebogo became the talk of the town following his emergence as a two-time medallist in the men’s 100m and 200m from the recently ended World Athletics Championships, becoming the 1st African to claim a podium finish in men’s100m.
Tebogo is also a two-time World Athletics U20 Champion in the men’s 100m, a two-time silver medallist in the men’s 200m (U20 World Championships), an African Champion in 200m, an African Record Holder in the men’s 200m and a World U20 Record Holder in the men’s 100m of 9.91.
Also honoured is the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games Men’s 4x400m relay team that won the second ever Olympic Medal for Botswana (Bronze), breaking the African Record twice in the process, registering 2 58.33 during heats and 2.57.37 at the final. The team was made up of Isaac Makwala, Bayapo Ndori, Leungo Scotch, Baboloki Thebe, Zibane Ngozi and Anthony Pesela.
The team broke a two decade standing record set by Nigeria at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and it was the only African team at the final that further earned a spot for the Oregon22 World Athletics Championships from the performance.
The Botswana Senior Women National team ‘The Mares’ made history by qualifying for their first Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON), held in Morocco last year July. Currently, the Mares have proven that they are a force to reckon with in the annual COSAFA tournament and in their return to Africa Women’s Cup of Nation (AWCON). The Mares are applauded for having shown great discipline, unity, focus and respect for each other, which in turn had a positive impact on their performance on the field.
In an interview, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Vice President Admin Oabona Theetso said that receiving such an honour was a sign of growth for local athletics and marked a history to remember. He expressed delighted that the honour was a recognition of their efforts to make athletics fashionable.
For his part, the Mares Head Coach Mohambi Saulosi appreciated that the award shows that their efforts are being recognised therefore they are more grateful having been honoured.
He added that the award also shows that the former head coach, Gaolethoo Nkutlwisang and her technical team are being appreciated for having made a very big impact in the team. Saulosi has appreciated Nkutlwisang for her efforts noting that the team is what it is because of her hard work and determination.
“We are looking forward for greater things as a team, we are currently on a camp in South Africa for the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship games and in our first encounter we will be facing Namibia this Saturday, so we would like Batswana to support us because we know they have so much hope on our team” he said.