Former world 400m champion, Amantle Montsho is expected to gradually pick pace after an expected lethargic return following a two-year ban.
The Maun-born runner is the first local athlete to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games (2010) and the IAAF World Championships (2011), the former which made her world champion.
She was given a two-year ban in 2015 after testing positive for a banned substance at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Montsho has since started training and her coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe believes the athlete will hit the right notes soon.
“At first her legs looked a bit heavy and her transition was slow but she has since begun to be a bit fast. I am giving her February to train hard and by March I will be expecting her to compete,” Otsetswe said.
Tshephang Tshube, who went with the Botswana Olympics team to Rio last August as a psychologist, believes Montsho still has the physical ability and talent to compete. “It’s what you make out of your body.
If she developed a good training foundation, then I think she will be able to execute and make herself and the nation proud,” he said.
He said Montsho’s age still allows her to be fit to compete.
Tshube compared Montsho to Kim Collins (Saint Kitts and Nevis) who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics at the age of 40. Montsho turns 34 in July.
Quizzed whether he believes Montsho can be able to qualify for major international races Tshube said she needs to start from scratch.
“My advice is for her to start competing at regional and continental level as that can enable us to see if she can still make it,” he said. He further said Montsho’s progress would be monitored through Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) track and field competitions.
The competitions start at the end of January. But Oabona Theetso of Jwaneng Athletics Club believes age is not on Montsho’s side. “Age is not on her side.
I think we can just expect her to qualify for the World Championships of which we must not expect her to bring home a medal.
Her age mates, Christine Ohuruogo (Britain) to be specific, run relays only, something, which shows it is difficult for women her age to compete in international competitions.
The two year ban might have also affected her,” he said. The 34-year-old is not the only athlete who returned to athletics after her ban as she joins the likes of Justin Gatlin (USA) who was once banned twice.