Says he can no longer run for prestige as he needs the money from the Diamond League to support his family
Botswana’s 400m track runner, Isaac Makwala, will be conspicuous by his absence at the highly-anticipated Commonwealth Games after he chose to continue his Diamond League quest immediately after the World Championships.
The Games – which are slated for 28 July to 8 August in Birmingham, England – clash with the Silesia Diamond League scheduled to begin on 6 August in Poland.
Ultimate goal evades Makwala
Makwala competed at the just-ended World Championships in Oregon, USA where he bowed out in the semi-finals, after which he stated that he will retire from active athletics after his major preferred events this year.
Makwala said he was opting for Diamond League because it comes with monetary rewards that he needs for life after he retires. “It was not an easy decision to make but I had to be realistic and honest with myself,” he said.
“I would have loved to defend my 400m Commonwealth title but continuing my Diamond League journey is more important at the moment because it has monetary rewards that I need to provide for my family. Besides, I have almost every medal in my trophy cabinet except for the World Championships which I had hoped to win earlier. I am also giving the young ones a chance to establish themselves because I have played my part as an athlete and it is time for me to say goodbye.”
P5K min, P300K max in Diamond League
In competing in the diamond league, he is assured of a minimum of P5,000 and maximum of P100,000 in the Diamond series. If he makes it to the grand finale, he will get a minimum of P10,000 and a maximum of P300,000 in prize money, in addition.
Despite being named in the final squad by the Botswana National Olympics committee (BNOC) last month, it is alleged that Makwala has fallen out of favour with BNOC and Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) leadership because of his social media posts in which he allegedly attacks the government mainly for lack of support.
Has had words with authorities
Makwala has reportedly been issued with a letter by BNSC, demanding that he delete the posts and proffer an apology, if he wishes to continue being in the team. Makwala has confirmed this and said he is yet to respond to the letter.
Meanwhile, Team Botswana led by Yarona Sharp as Chef de Mission is already in Birningham and Makwala is notably absent.