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Was Team Botswana Ready - Doha 2019 World Championships

Publishing Date : 07 October, 2019

Author : KENNETH MOSEKIEMANG

Going to the biennial competition, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) sent 13 athletes, with only five focused on individual categories, while others were to form part of relay team.


Two out of five athletes who were to represent this country within individual events at the on-going International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) have been relegated to spectators owing to injuries. But the injuries on the two athletes has left one question on the lips of many within the athletics fraternity.


The duo of Nigel Amos and Galefele Moroko, who were undoubtedly team Botswana poster kids, saw their dream of sailing through in the competitions halted. This has left a dark cloud hovering above the team with medal prospects diminishing with each passing day. Only green horn, Leungo Scotch, was a torch bearer as he managed to reach the semi-finals.


800 meters star, who is also 2012 Olympic silver medalist Nigel Amos was forced to withdraw from 800m heat, one race after he sustained an Achilles tendon just a few hours before the 800m race. 25-year-old runner from Marobela village, was the favorite to win gold under the 800m category as he arrived to this year’s IAAF World Champ as the fastest man in the world this year, having run 1:41.89 in Monaco earlier this season, even though he was beaten in the Diamond League final last month.


Despite running some of the fastest times in history since, Amos has suffered rough patches at major championships, he is yet to add to gold his global medal collection. He finished fifth at the 2017 World Championships finals in London, with a time of 1:45.83, the race which was won by Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France, after he clocked his season best of 1:44:68. The 800m race was won by 21 year old, who is also 2019 Diamond League Champion Donavan Brazier, after clocking a time of 1:42.34. Brazier happened to be Amos’ toughest opponent.


As if it was not enough, Galefele Moroko who is the women’s 12th All African Games champions under 400m category, also sustained an injury on the 400m women semifinals just 50m after the start of the race which forced her to withdraw from the race. In the heat races, Moroko recorded her personal bests of 50.59 to qualify for the semifinal, she however pulled out of the semifinal race on Tuesday night.


Another athlete who failed to impress was local 400m sprinter Christine Botlogetswe, who is coming back from an injury that denied her a chance to compete in the Diamond League final where she clocked 53.27, finishing in the 6th position, which may not be considered a bad time, since she had not been competing for about 2 months, after the injury she sustained.


However debutants, Leungo Scotch and Ditiro Nzamani impressed at the competition. The two who made their first appearance in the world’s biggest athletics stage, where they will compete in the 400m, a race where Makwala, Sibanda and Thebe have dominated, winning medals for the country. Scotch came third in 400m category, recording his personal best of 45:10, qualifying for the semi-finals as the fastest loser. He later went on to record his personal best of 45:0, in the semifinals even-though he only managed to secure the 6th position.


4x400m RELAYS LAST HOPE

When speaking to WeekendSport this week, Oabona Theetso who is the team manager, said they will pin their last hope on the relays which will be ran tonight (Saturday), both 4x400m for men and women. “If we qualify for the finals, we will automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” he shared. Theetso further indicated that they couldn’t have the full medical report about the extent of the injuries which Amos and Moroko sustained, since BAA didn’t avail a medical doctor to travel with the team.


“Lack of proper training and a long season has taken a lot on their muscles, it’s one of the reasons why they were probed to injuries. Normally our season ends in August, so its two months since the season ended and this could eventually cause injuries,” he said. Team manager said Nigel got injured at the Diamond league, Galefele also came to the competition while she was injured, though she had been running with the injury. He indicated that the duo will not be available for tonight’s (Saturday), relays as they have been declared unfit.

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