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Makwala, Montsho lead glory hunt

MQONDISI DUBE
Experienced: Montsho PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Isaac Makwala and Amantle Montsho are the senior statesman and woman leading adventurous relay teams at the World Athletics Relays in Poland.

The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday.

The Botswana team had to endure travelling over two days to touch down to a cold Silesia, the host city.

The cold temperatures will not favour the local athletes, but medal prospects look bright after some heavyweights withdrew due to COVID-19 concerns.

Canada, Jamaica and the U.S are some of the prominent names that are missing in Poland, while India failed to make it due to flight complications brought about by COVID-19.

Botswana has a good record in relays, and the team will draw on the experience of world-beaters, Makwala and Montsho.

Montsho is a former 400m world champion, while Makwala rose to prominence with his solo run at the 2017 World Championships in London. The following year, he bagged the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the Gold Coast.

Both Montsho and Makwala are in the twilight of their careers, but still have the legs to power their respective relay teams to victory. The men’s team will miss Baboloki Thebe who is unavailable. Onkabetse Nkobolo is a long term absentee after suffering serious injuries in an accident last year.

But Makwala said they are ready for the challenge ahead with the World Relays presenting an

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opportunity for athletes to book their places at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“We arrived safely in Poland. We are ready and we are going to do our best. Yes, Covid affected us, particularly our preparations, plus the suspension of sport activities made it worse,” Makwala said.

The men’s 4x100m team will make its debut at the World Relays, with Leaname Maotoanong and Karabo Mothibi amongst those expected to be on track.

Makwala and Boitumelo Masilo appear safe bets for slots in the men’s 4x400m relay, with Karabo Sibanda still battling for full fitness, and is a doubt.

In the women’s, Montsho, Christine Botlogetswe, Galefe Moroko and Loungo Matlhaku are expected to exchange the button. However, Moroko and Botlogetswe are recovering from injuries.

Meanwhile, the team suffered a blow when head coach, Justice Dipeba was forced to return home due to a family bereavement.

The team

Men’s 4 x 100m

Karabo Mothibi, Letsile Tebogo, Thapelo Monaiwa, Leaname Maotoanong, Thuso Masasa, Koorapetse Lesotlho.

Men’s 4 x 400m

Ditiro Nzamani, Isaac Makwala, Boitumelo Masilo, Leungo Scotch, Karabo Sibanda, Bayapo Ndori,Zibane Ngozi.

Women’s 4x400m

Amantle Victor-Nkape, Christine Botlogetswe, Galefele Moroko, Thomphang Basele, Oratile Nowe, Loungo Matlhaku.

Team officialsRaymond Thapelo Phale (team manager), Kebonemodisa Dose Mosimanyane (assistant coach),

Kabo Kabelo Molefe (physio).



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