Most marathon runners yet to be paid their dues

Baitshepi Sekgweng

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has threatened to take action against clubs and race organisers whom fail to pay athletes on time.

The threat was made by BAA Vice President-Administration following complaints from athletes who are yet to receive their prize monies from marathons from as far as 2021.

Theetso said they’re aware of these complaints and will be taking action soon.

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He also said they’re also aware of the many international athletes who compete in local marathons without clearance from their respective associations.

The influx of foreigners has been one of the biggest concerns raised by various clubs and individual athletes recently.

He said despite an agreement made that no foreign athletes should compete locally without a clearance, clubs continue to ignore this.

“This year we have written to all race organizers that no foreigner must be allowed to register without a clearance from their federation through us,” he said.

Voice Sport has interviewed some athletes who competed in the Gubungano Marathon and Orapa Half Marathon in November 11th and 25th respectively, who are are yet to lay their hands on the promised prize monies.

Left in the lurch by organisers, and speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, one of the runners said he’s yet to be paid for his exploits in the diamond mining time of Orapa, despite promises of a windfall when they registered to compete.

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He said initially organisers promised award the top five locals across all categories, but later changed it to only the top three.

He revealed to Voice Sport that to date some athletes have received a fraction of what was promised, while others have been left with ‘itching’ palms.

“The procedure is if there are no issues of doping, payments should be made within 14 days provided its a lot of money. If not, prize monies should be paid immediately after the race,” he said.

Another concerned athlete also revealed to Voice Sport that he’s yet tom receive his prize from the Gubungano marathon.

“I need the money, that’s why I run. I need it for my upkeep, to buy running gear and for my supplements,” he told Voice Sport.

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He said repeated efforts to engage the organisers bore no fruits.

“I reached out to them last year, but didn’t bother this year because they never say anything that gives hope,” he dejectedly said.

Orapa Half Marathon Chairman Onewamang Letsatsi was quick to admit the financial challenges that comes with organizing a marathon.

He said a prospective title sponsor pulled out at the eleventh hour leaving them with very little time to find another one.

“We’ve been very transparent with athletes. With the amount of money from registration fees we settled for a compromise. Those who agreed were paid instantly. The same arrangement was made with foreign athletes,” revealed Letsatsi.

Gubungano organizer Carlos Sebina also talked about the many challenges they face in organizing marathons.

Sebina however opted to remain positive and said they are still focused on making Gubungano one of the biggest marathons in the country.

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