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Athletics Team Rises To The Occasion

Region 5 Team Botswana. PIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE
When Region V Youth Games Gaborone 2018 started, of all the nine codes that were competing, all eyes were on the athletics team.

As expected, the team did not disappoint and took the war to South Africa who have been grabbing gold medals.Though at some point, Botswana seemed to be struggling, the relay teams proved that they are the future of this country.

South Africa easily scooped gold in the women’s 4x100m relay followed by Zambia with Botswana settling for bronze. The men’s team did not allow that mistake to happen as Zebrone Machara, Thuto Masasa, Phodiso Rampa and Calvin Bathusi went for gold in a time of 40:47. South Africa finished second followed by Zimbabwe. The men’s 4x400m team that had Bayapo Ndori, Onneile Phokedi, Ditiro Nzamani and Lee Eppie took gold with a time of 3:07:45.

Zambia grabbed the silver while South Africa settled for bronze. The women’s team of Naledi Lopang, Oratile Nowe, Refilwe Murangi and Motlatsi Rante scooped the gold with a time of 3:51:34 with Mozambique going for silver and Lesotho taking home bronze.  Botswana finished the day with four gold medals to increase the haul 10 gold medals in athletics with eight silver and 15 bronze medals.

The host nation finished the competition as runner-up to South Africa who became the biggest earners with 47 medals being 19 gold, 20 silver and eight bronze. Zimbabwe finished third with eight gold, eight silver and nine bronze.

Eswatini finished the competition without a single medal.

At the UB stadium, the girls’ football team booked a

final with South Africa, and in the process put up a brave fight. A mistake in the 60th minute led to a tap in by Lindokuhle Gladile who gave the visitors a one-nil lead. 

The score line was enough to give South Africa a gold medal. Botswana walked away with silver and Zimbabwe finished with a bronze.

The girls’ coach, Jacqueline Gaobinelwe told Sport Monitor that they first met end of June during team selection.

“The selection was followed by weekend camps and the final camp, which was held in Orapa. It was not easy to be here due to various challenges that I had to overcome. “Working with a girl-child is not easy. They ought to be handled in a certain manner.  We had to make sure that they were psychologically prepared.  When our players play against other countries, they become terrified,” she said.Gaobinelwe said her players did their best, gaving their much fancied opponents a run for their money.

She said her wish is to keep the team together moving forward. Meanwhile, the curtain came down on the games yesterday. The next games would be hosted by Lesotho in two years’ time.


Overall medal standing:

South Africa: 72 gold, 61 silver and 12 bronze. Total: 145.

Botswana: nine gold, 22 silver and 30 bronze. Total: 61.

Angola:  14 gold, nine silver and 21 bronze. Total: 44.

Zambia: 12 gold, three silver and nine bronze. Total: 24.





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