By Tom Degun at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

botswana flagAugust 29 - Botswana and Malawi have both pulled out of the London 2012 Paralympics just hours before the Opening Ceremony, meaning that there will now be a total of 164 teams at the Games.

Botswana were set to put forward visually impaired sprinter Tshotlego Golden in the T13 200 metres, while Malawi had selected visually impaired runners Chisomo Jelemani and Janet Shedani, although their events were not confirmed.

However, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that both African countries will not attend London 2012.

Although the IPC is contacting both National Paralympic Committees to confirm why they will not be attending, it is said to be due to a lack of financial support from the Governments of both nations.

Botswana has only appeared at one Paralympics when they made their debut at Athens 2004 but they made quite an impact.

The country sent a single representative – Tshotlego Morama – to compete in the women's 400m T46 sprint.

In her one event, Morama shocked the world as she won gold in a world record time of 55.99sec.

However, despite being scheduled to defend her title at Beijing 2008, she did not appear for unknown reasons.

Meanwhile, Malawi had been due to be one of 15 nations making their Paralympic debut in London.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]