At a time Amantle Montsho is gearing herself up to bounce back onto the athletic rubber track, a group of farmers from the Gantsi region has stepped in to spur her further by donating twelve cattle to the former world 400m champion.
There could not have been a better time for this unprecedented gesture than now on the eve of her rise from the ashes of a lengthy doping ban. And what better place to present the cattle to the star than in Maun - the home that gave birth to her and further bred her to become the national icon that she is.
Doping scandal aside, Montsho still remains top of the country’s list of sporting icons having hoisted the nation’s flag high on the international stage for a long time. Little had been known of Botswana’s athletics landscape until she outshone even the best of the Americas - Jamaica and USA inclusive. It is thus a fitting gesture from these farmers to reward her and thereby remind all and sundry that her star is still here to continue shining both in the form of her own performances, and also through the exploits of the younger athletes she inspired to international stardom.
The minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng will this Friday afternoon join the people of Maun to hand over the donated cattle at a ceremony to be held at the Maun Sport Complex. The ceremony is slated for 3pm and is expected to be attended by her parents and other local athletes.
Montsho’s career was dealt a blow when she was caught up in a doping transgression at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. She was handed a two-year ban after testing positive for methylhexaneamine, a ban that elapses in a couple of months. Despite that doping scandal setback, the donating farmers still feel the nation owes her a lot for her gallantry and inspiration that eventually spurred the nation’s athletics fortunes to unprecedented heights with the emergence of more international stars such as Isaac Makwala and Nijel Amos. She was crowned the world champion in 2011, a year after she became Botswana’s first Commonwealth Games gold medalist.