When the Commonwealth Games team jetted out of the country, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) had set a medal target at eight. Athletics team accepted the memo and delivered five medals; three gold, silver and bronze.
The performance of the athletics team has now made the 2018 Commonwealth team the most successful since Botswana debuted in 1974. However, other codes amongst them swimming, boxing, bowling and weightlifting rejected the memo, coming back empty handed.
Isaac Makwala came out of the Commonwealth as the biggest winner with two gold medals from 400m race and 4x400m relay. The athlete had a good season spanning from last year. He started competing in March during the Athletix Grand Prix that was organised by Athletics South Africa (ASA), where he proved he was ready for the Commonwealth games. He dominated the 400m race to claim his first gold at the games. The win motivated him as he went onto finish stronger for the relay team and to have a second bite of the gold. Makwala is the richest amongst the rest as he is going to receive P200, 000 from government as incentive packages. On the other hand, Amantle Montsho made a strong come back to snatch her second Commonwealth gold medal following her 2010 triumph. She was a pillar of strength for the women’s relay team, powering all the way to make sure that they bring home a bronze medal.
Baboloki Thebe had a slow start to the season due to injuries that put him on the sidelines. He did not look back when he punched away such hiccups to finish second behind Makwala in the 400m final, winning silver which was his first Commonwealth medal. There were fears
Athletics coach, Brendan Tautsagae told Sport Monitor he was impressed by the brave fight from the athletics team. “I was one of those who had fears considering injuries that some athletes had especially Thebe. If you look at the way he ran during the heats, you could tell that he had some challenges. In any case, it is still early in the season and most teams take time to reach peak. So for the team to have achieved what they have done is commendable,” he said.
Tautsagae said the women’s team outdid themselves. He said if asked whether the team was a medal prospect, he would have said they could only manage a top five finish. “They went onto get themselves a podium finish which is a great achievement,” he said. Regarding the outcome of Nijel Amos’ 800m disappointing finish, Tautsagae said Amos seemed to be in pain during the race.
He said Amos was a medal prospect, but there was nothing that could be done when he was in pain.“Like wine, Makwala and Montsho have matured with age considering what they have been through in the past. It was great opportunity to redeem themselves at Gold Coast,” he said. Tautsagae is a teacher and athletics coach at Nthwalang Junior Secondary School at Digawana.