Choppies dangles P1 million carrot to athletes
Local giant retailer, Choppies has yet again thrown down the gauntlet and pledged a cool P1million to any Team Botswana athlete that will win a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramachandran Ottapathu made the bold statement at a press conference in Gaborone this week. “Choppies will reward the Olympic gold medalists with a prize of P1million, silver medalists with P500 000, Bronze medalist with P250 000 and P75 000 for the finalists,” said Ottapathu addressing a fully packed press conference. He explained that if the relay team wins a gold medal the amount of P1million will be distributed amongst the athletes.
“Individual athletes are being given these prizes to compliment them for their noble work and dedication to achieve through sports and in that regard fly the national flag up high.” Moreover, Ottapathu said this was not their first initiative of rewarding exceptional performers in sports as they rewarded 2012 London Olympics silver medalist Nijel Amos following his stellar performance in 800m. Quizzed on why Choppies did not reward the coaches who play a pivotal role in generating and preserving capable athletes, Ottapathu said they will look into the issue and engage relevant stakeholders.
Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho applauded the corporate giant for their continuous support for growth of different sporting codes. “Choppies remains the only entity which is enthusiastic about elevating sport in Botswana. In 2014 they were the main sponsors of the Gaborone Africa Youth Games and today they are engaged in another high magnitude event,” Serufho said.
The BNOC boss said it was their hope that this act of benevolence encourages other entities to come on board and support sports. Serufho applauded Choppies for their commitment to sports. “The Olympics Games do not reward monetary prizes to the competitors.
However, our athletes engage in competition events that have monetary rewards and by (the time of the) Olympics Games they are drained and exhausted.” Moreover, Serufho said this initiative will ensure that athletes focus all their energies on the Olympic Games.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Sports Youth and Culture, Kago Ramokate said it was their responsibility to make preparations and provide facilities to prepare athletes for the Olympics. “When a private sector (company) invests so much into the athletes it leaves us astonished and encouraged to also do better for our athletes,” he said, adding that Choppies were not newcomers to support the sports fraternity as they have previously played a huge role.