With World Championships gold medallist, Amantle Montsho out of the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships, Botswana's hopes will be pinned on the 4 X 4 relay team.
Montsho pulled out of this year's 14th edition of the global level indoor track and field competition which will be held between March 9 and12 at the Atakoy Athletics Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.The development leaves the relay team as the only representative for the country at the competition. The five - Jamaica-based Isaac Makwala, Obakeng Ngwigwa, Thapelo Ketlogetswe, Pako Seribe and Sakaria Kamberuka - have intensified preparations for the competition.
They went for fitness tests at the Pretoria High Performance Centre late last week, save for Makwala, who took part in the 400 metre individual event at the Gibson Relays in Kingston on Saturday. He finished second in the race after clocking 47, 37 seconds."I feel good because the relay is not like the flat race, so I know I am going to run fast at the Indoor Championships.
The event was Makwala's third competition of the season and his last before he travels to Istanbul on March 6.He believes the exposure he stands to gain from the competition will be critical, come March 9.Prior to Saturday's race, Makwala competed in the Camperdown Classic three weeks ago, Makwala
"It's the beginning of the season and I think that is not a bad time at all. But I'm quite positive that by April my time would have improved a lot," he said.
He is confident that by the time he leaves for Istanbul, he will be ready for the Indoors' race. His team-mate, Ngwigwa, who is currently in the country after completing his studies in the United States of America, said preparations were on course."I've been training twice on my own and I think I'm getting there. We leave for Pretoria where we will do fitness tests and I'm positive about everything at this stage," he said.This year's Indoor Championships will be the first of four IAAF World Athletics Series events in 2012, which includes the World Race Walking Cup, the World Junior Championships and the World Half Marathon Championships.