Why Makwala Dropped From The Commonwealth Games Camp

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Following the announcement about his retirement, it turns out that the Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) could not accede to Isaac Makwala’s request for the committee to financially meet the opportunity cost of him missing the upcoming Diamond League Finals.    

The 400m sensation recently notified the BNOC as well as the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) about his decision to retire from the team and subsequent wish to be withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games Camp in Birmingham.  

BNOC revealed in a press release this week that the decision is to allow for Makwala to focus on competing in the upcoming Diamond League Competitions, which he has reportedly cited as being his focal point given the benefit and the financial improvement to his general welfare. BNOC has since accepted the request made by Makwala.

In an interview with Times Sports, the Committee’s Acting CEO, Baboni Khupe revealed that Makwala had requested to be released from the national team to allow him to participate in the Diamond League, which would be more beneficial to him and his general welfare.

She indicated that in his request, the athlete had stated that he was amenable to continuing with team Botswana at the Commonwealth Games, should the BNOC financially meet the opportunity cost of not competing at the Diamond League Finals.    

But Khupe indicated that the BNOC was unable to accede to the athlete’s request leading to his release.

She said the defending champion of the 400m Gold medal from the last Commonwealth Games held at the Gold Coast, it is in Makwala’s judgement to choose not to defend the title in order to pursue his professional goals adding that the BNOC can only acknowledge and support his wishes. She has however noted that it is not for the BNOC to accept Makwala’s decision, but rather to take note of it.  

“This is not something that is unique to our circumstances, as professional athletes tend to sacrifice the Commonwealth Games, for their professional competitions that have more financial benefit and also contribute to their professional growth and therefore this was not something that the BNOC was unaware of,” she explained.

She said BNOC remains grateful to Makwala’s long term service to the national team, which she noted was as a personal sacrifice.  She further highlighted that BNOC strategic agenda includes amongst others the optimal support of elite athletes and their needs are foremost to the organisation being able to fulfil its mandate.

She has urged the nation to continue rallying behind him as a nation, during the next leg of the Diamond League competition in Silesia, Poland on the 06th of August.

On the impact of Makwala’s absence from the team at the Commonwealth Games, Khupe pointed that the team is made up of individuals who wish to achieve and make a name for themselves in their own right, adding that the team is ready and capable of carrying itself hoping that they will continue to do well in Makwala’s absence.

 “Makwala has taken on the role of Ambassador on the Botswana athletics scene, and contributed immeasurably, flying our flag high all over the world and contributing to both national pride and individual athlete morale,” Khupe indicated.

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