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Tumbling Nijel irks BAA

Publishing Date : 04 July, 2017


Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has conceded that it is perturbed by the performance of Botswana’s most decorated athlete, Nijel Amos, whose prospects of winning a medal at the upcoming World Championships continue to narrow with each passing day.

The 800m runner who recently relocated to the United States of America to polish his running prowess has yet to make an impression this year. Records show that Amos has competed in only two races this season; Gaborone International Meet (GIM) and Diamond League failing to complete the latter as he tripped and fell. The time he registered at the GIM, 1:47:72 however is still far from the qualifying splits for the World Championship. To qualify one needs to clock around 1:45 for the 800m category.

The 2012 London Olympics silver medallist who has been given a preparation outlook by BAA and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) together with Nike is yet to fully execute the plan. Between May and June, according to BAA Sport Development Officer Gable Garenamotse, Amos was to compete in 3 races, including the Nike sponsored Eugene Diamond League on May 25 and at the Stockholm Diamond League on June 18; however he has only partaken at Stockholm meet where he fell.

Though information is sketchy it is said he competed in another meet recently where he clocked another “not convincing time”. This has in turn cast serious doubt over the athlete’s ability to consolidate his status as one of the best in the 800m race in the world. With the 23 year-old enduring one of the poorest seasons of his life, it appears failure to create a lasting impression at the World Championships might have him chucked out in the cold.

His personal sponsor Nike, which was influential in his relocation to America, is reportedly likely to dump him. Meanwhile, BNOC which has been backing him through a number of programmes also will likely drift its resources further from him to hungry greenhorns.  “Nike’s interest is for athletes to reach their peak, as that is when they will have greater return on investment. So failure to do well will see his confidence taking a serious knock and Nike will lose interest and BNOC is also likely to drop him from Olympic Solidarity Scholarship. What Nijel fails to appreciate is if his performance doesn’t improve this year, his career is gone,” a source carefully monitoring athlete’s performance said.

BAA Vice President Technical Kenneth Kikwe has acknowledged that BAA is worried by his performance thus far and they are working on seeing how best they could assist him. “He is not just an ordinary athlete, we expect him to compete not to participate but his times thus far are not convincing but we are hopeful that he can rise before the Championship as there are other races before then.”

It is expected that Nijel will have four solid 800m races and 3 (three) 400m races prior to London World Championships. These races will be used as a yardstick to project the possible results for the athlete whose career has taken a nose dive. “Considering London, only Baboloki (Thebe) and Sibanda (Karabo) are the potential medal  winners for Botswana, Nijel is out because his performance is not convincing and his move to America I still maintain was the biggest error,” Jwaneng Athletics Club coach Oabona Theetso said. Other coaches including Mogomotsi Otsetswe have always maintained that local athletes perform incredibly well when rehearsing on home soil than outside the country.



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