The Botswana Athletes Commission has launched the “Support Amantle Montsho Campaign” to assist for helping the athlete for upcoming competitions following her return from a doping ban of two years.

Montsho, the female sprinter from Botswana who specializes in the 400 meters and represented her country at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, served a suspension of two years. This was after she was found guilty of taking a banned substance during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The 2011 world champion and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist tested positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine after finishing fourth at Glasgow 2014. Montsho then blamed a contaminated supplement for the positive test and denied taking everything that was banned deliberately. She received only a ban of two years and not four years as her offence was committed before the new World Anti-Doping Code came into effect on January 1, 2015.

The athlete decided not to appeal against the ban because of the costs of BP200,000 (£14,500/$19,000/€17,300). She served the ban until July of last year and was forced to miss the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.  Montsho has already qualified for this year’s IAAF World Championships that will be between August 4 and 13 at London’s Olympic Stadium.

The ban on Montsho was a huge setback to her illustrious career that included a win in Daegu in 2011 that made her the first athlete from Botswana ever to win a world or Olympic title. Montsho narrowly failed to retain her world title at Moscow in 2013 after finishing fourth in the Olympics at London 2012 when she led for most of the race only to be pipped on the line by Christine Ohuruogu of Britain. The athlete also won consecutive gold medals in 2007 and 2011 at the All-Africa Games and claimed victory at the African Championships in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The “Support Amantle Montsho Campaign” is aimed to raise funds to help the former 400 meters world champion find training facilities and aid her preparations for this year’s International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London. Botswana National Olympic Committee vice-president Botsang Tshenyego supported the campaign and remarked it was in honor of an athlete who put Botswana on the athletics map. Botsang remarked we want her to continue in sports under a different role either being coach, sports ambassador or sports administrator. The VP of Botswana National Olympic Committee said he will give inspiration to young athletes, especially girls and added we cannot lose an athlete of such caliber. Botsang also said the initiative is meant to raise funds for competitions and the transition that is training her in areas of her choice.

Montsho said a top three finish will be an achievement for her looking at her level of fitness and added she will still be happy to reach the event’s final. The sprinter from Botswana also commented it is not going to be easy but she had to work hard to make this a reality and also said she will announce her retirement after getting a medal.

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