Athletics stamped its authority in Morocco at the African Games where Botswana won its first gold medals through 400m runners, Galefele Moroko and Leungo Scotch on Wednesday.
Moroko is using the continental competition as a dress rehearsal for the IAAF Championship in Doha next month. She cruised to the finish line in 51.30 to also book herself a flight ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Scotch ran 45.26 to also qualify for Doha. Coach, Kebonemodisa Dose Mosimanyane said Moroko was an athlete of a few words during the competition.
“She stopped talking to me after the semi-final. I asked her during the semi-final warm up if she needed me for anything and she shook her head. It was an indication that we have done enough talking since the camp started,” he said.
“But I forced a few seconds of pep talk before the final, just to remind her that she had already qualified for Doha so (there was) no pressure. We just wanted a Personal Best (PB).”
Mosimanyane said Scotch was nervous ahead of the final and the previous night he said “heish mmele wame wa gana gompieno coach” meaning ‘my body is not in the right state’.
He said Scotch had told himself that any medal would do, but changed tune in the morning to say he was ready for the final.
“I told him a PB would get him to the podium. We came to Morocco to qualify for the World Championships and that was the plan. Anything else was a bonus. Even if he got position four, still he was in,” he said.
Ditiro Nzamani shocked the nation when he finished in position seven with a time of 46.15, with reports that the athlete was injured.
Mosimanyane said he was surprised to learn about Nzamani’s injury from other people.
“I talk a lot to him but when I enquired about the injury, he simply dismissed it saying it was nothing to worry about. His plan was to go for either a gold or silver medal,” he said.
Chief executive officer of Botswana National Olympic Committee, Tuelo Serufho said he was excited to see youngsters claiming their stake in athletics and making the country proud in the process.
“Moroko has not only won her first open continental championship but qualified for Doha and Tokyo. The same thing goes for Scotch,” he said.
Meanwhile, Serufho said he was happy about the performance of Team Botswana. He said boxing, which has been struggling for the past years, is finally turning a corner. Boxing has three boxers who have made it to the finals and two of them are women.