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2018: From gold in Gold Coast to shattered Olympic Dreams

The year 2018 shuts down in a few days, and the sport fraternity can look back to yet another eventful year. The highlight was Botswana harvest of three gold medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, with the country’s failure to land the right to host the 2022 Youth Olympic Games being the low point. Staff Writers MQONDISI DUBE & CALISTUS KOLANTSHO review a year of mixed bag

Failed Olympic Games bid

2018 will go down in history as a year when Botswana launched an audacious bid to become the first ever African country to host the Youth Olympic Games. Botswana, went head-to-head with other African countries, Tunisia, Senegal and Nigeria for the right to organise the 2022 tournament. While the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) thought it had done enough to win the bid, the government baulked at the P1.7 billion budget needed to host the games. Botswana missed the August 17 deadline for the government to commit to the hosting of the games. In the end, it was Senegal that prevailed and will become the first African country to host the Youth Olympics. 


Amos’ Commonwealth misery

Nijel Amos was expected to grab a gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. But the 800m final turned into a nightmare for the athlete as the 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist finished last. His poor finish was blamed on an injury he picked during the semi-final.


Makwala, Montsho golden moments

Isaac Makwala finally broke his Commonwealth Games duck after he won two gold medals in Gold Coast in April. He won an individual medal and proceeded to clinch another medal with the 4x400m relay team. On the other hand, Amantle Montsho scooped an individual gold in the 400m, before guiding the women’s 4x400m relay team to a bronze medal. Baboloki Thebe overcame an injury scare to win a silver medal in the 400m as Botswana completed a rare 1-2 in what was the country’s most successful Commonwealth Games.


Jele receives lengthy ban

In November, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) found Lydia Jele guilty of using a banned substance. The athlete was suspended in

November last year, when it was found that her sample had tested positive. She was then slapped with a four-year ban last month. Her last competition was during the World championships last year August. Hardly two months after the triumphant return from London, Jele would make a fateful error when, according to her own evidence, she decided to sip water from a bottle that was contaminated by her husband’s steroids.


CUCSA, Region 5 Games in Gaborone

Botswana Tertiary Students Sport Association (BOTESSA) hosted the Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association (CUCSA) 2018.

South Africa won the games, which were hosted mid-year, with Zimbabwe coming second, while the hosts, Botswana were third. Malawi were fourth while Lesotho, eSwatini and Namibia returned home empty handed.

Meanwhile, the country also hosted the Region 5 Youth Games early this month. There were teething problems, particularly around accommodation and accreditation, when the games started.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) had to put both hands on deck to ensure a smooth competition. South Africa dominated the competition snatching 144 medals (69 gold, 60 silver and 15 bronze) followed by Angola with 47 medals (16 gold, 10 silver and 21 bronze).

Team Botswana outdid themselves by finishing third (12 gold, 24 silver and 33 bronze). Tanzania who came as guests, won gold medal from the boys football. The next edition of the games is scheduled for Maseru, Lesotho in 2020.


Botswana breaks SA monopoly

Botswana became the first country, outside South Africa, to host the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Regional Coaches Conference last month. South Africa has always hosted the conference, which was held days before the ITF regional tournament was held in Gaborone. The conference targeted coaches from Southern and Eastern Africa.




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