Mmegi Online :: Makwala and Co. inspiration wave hitting the right spots
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Last Updated
Wednesday 19 September 2018, 14:07 pm.
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Makwala and Co. inspiration wave hitting the right spots

PALAPYE: After the recent dominance of local runners in the 400m races on the international stage, the single round race has become synonymous with Botswana and younger athletes appear to have been inspired to carry the baton.
By Koketso Kgoboge Fri 01 Jun 2018, 12:54 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Makwala and Co. inspiration wave hitting the right spots








Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Karabo Sibanda, Amantle Montsho, Lydia Jele, Christine Botlogetswe and others, have been remarkable in the 400m races having won gold medals for the country on the big stage.

Their exploits on the international stage have not gone unnoticed. In the lower echelons of athletics, the inspired young locals’ prospects are turning heads in the 400m race.

Recently, a young Bernard Olesitse caused a tremour with a blistering 47:54 at the International School Sport Federation in Morocco.

He brought home a gold medal and received a pat on the back and an invaluable pair of spikes from his idol, Thebe. Another gem, Gaolebale Saulo has raised his hand at the recently concluded Confederations of South African Sport Association (COSASA) games that were held in Francistown. The young Saulo scooped a 400m gold medal.

He competes in a lower category than Olesitse, but is also tipped to become one of the next best athletes. Last weekend, the Goo Tau native was recognised for his exploits at the COSSASA games and received a special gift of training equipment from the permanent secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi. 

The 15-year-old qualified for the COSSASA games by virtue of a 400m gold medal in the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and bronze medal in the 200m from the same competition.

In Francistown, Saulo showed a clean pair of heels to his regional nemesis from Namibia and Zimbabwe to claim his gold medal. The young athlete envisions himself rubbing shoulders at the international athletics events in the future.

He said, like his idols Makwala and Thebe, he is focussed on building a career out of the 400m

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race. The 15-year-old said he is looking at improving his time, 50.21 that won him gold at COSSASA.

“I love athletics and I know it can be a rewarding career. I just need to train harder and improve my time. I want to make my parents, my village and my country proud, like Isaac Makwala has done,” he said.

Saulo started athletics while still a Standard Six pupil at the Goo Tau Primary School.

On different occasions he lost in the regionals of Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA), but his underperformance inspired him to work extra hard.

He said he owes his recent achievement to his Goosemama Junior Secondary School coaches. He said they had helped him improve his confidence that cost him during his time at the BOPSSA.

“I lost at BOPSSA because I had no coaches, but I met the same group (of athletes) that beat me at BOPSSA and I easily beat them before I qualified for COSASA,” he said.

The promising athlete is revered at his school and his teacher, Boago Obonetse believes he is well equipped to become the next best athlete. He said the challenges he faces are proper training facilities and the right equipment in the laid back village.

“He is a good athlete all round and he has the right attitude. With his potential we have decided with him that he needs to focus on athletics only and despite the challenges he trains all year round,” he said. Obonetse said the school would be holding a special ceremony to celebrate the young athlete and also to encourage him to keep his spirits high.

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