Bots probes 400 men relay Tokyo bound team car crash

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Mpho Tebele

Gaborone - Botswana Athletic Association (BAA) has reportedly engaged the services of an independent auditor to investigate the circumstances that led to two members of Botswana's 4x400m relay team being involved in a car accident.

Baboloki Thebe and Onkabetse Nkobolo, who are members of the country’s influential 4x400m relay, were reportedly involved in a car accident early this week on their way back from a party in one of the locations in the capital, Gaborone.

The two athletes were part of the relay team that won Botswana a gold medal (4x400m) during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

It is understood that Baboloki, who was reportedly behind the wheel, escaped unhurt while Nkobolo sustained multiple injuries on his spine which affected the nervous system. The two athletes were in a camp at a hotel in Gaborone where the athletics team bound for the now postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics was lodged. They allegedly sneaked out to attend the party.   

According to a report in the Gazette newspaper, the BAA has now engaged an independent auditor to investigate the accident.

“We have to engage the auditors as per the BAA constitution. That allows for us not to make unfair or biased rulings on the matter,” BAA vice president (administration), Oabona Theetso, reportedly said.

“The auditors are the ones who will make recommendations and that is when we can decide whether the athletes should continue being part of the Olympics team or not.”

Botswana National Olympic Committee chief executive officer Tuelo Serufho pleaded with the nation to give the athletes time to heal and digest what had happened to them.  

“The boys are in need of our support as a nation rather than putting more pressure on them which may slow their recovery. They might be our sports icons but we should first look at it not as sports personalities but as human beings who are capable of making a mistake as well,” Serufho was quoted as saying.

“They are in a difficult situation which we would appreciate if Batswana could acknowledge and give them space,” the BNOC CEO said.

He said as the BNOC and the BAA, they were doing all they can to give the athletes all the support necessary to ensure quick recovery.

Meanwhile, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have reached an agreement to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to the summer of 2021.

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