Over to you athletics

Helping hand: Makwala gets a fist pump from coach, Dipeba PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Helping hand: Makwala gets a fist pump from coach, Dipeba PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Athletics is, once more, expected to rescue a faltering Olympic Games campaign as the local athletes prepare for action on the track tomorrow.

After a week of action, there has been no joy for Botswana after swimmer, James Freeman, boxers, Mohammed Rajab Otukile and Keamogetse Kenosi, and weightlifter, Madgelene Moyengwa were eliminated at the first hurdle.

Botswana has set a medal target of two, and now all the hopes hinge on a familiar saviour; athletics. Athletics coach, Justice Dipeba told Mmegi Sport the team was doing fine and preparations are going well.

Asked about how the typhoon that was anticipated to hit Japan this week had affected preparations, Dipeba said the weather condition was not an obstacle. “Wednesday was the last day and for now it is calm.

It is nothing to worry about at the moment. The typhoon did not affect our preparations as we were given the heads up well ahead of time,” Dipeba said. However, the typhoon was also a blessing in disguise because the temperatures have been reaching 40º Celsius. The extreme heat is making the Tokyo games one of the hottest Olympics in decades and has forced organisers to reschedule matches and push events to the early morning hours or dusk to avoid the scorching sun.

Dipeba said they are not even thinking about the competition that they are going to face as they are in Tokyo to compete and that is where the focus is at the moment.

Some local coaches believe Botswana athletes can excel. Former national team coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe said the team stands a good chance at excelling. “It depends on the plan of the coaching staff.

Nijel Amos comes in ranked number one in the men’s 800m but he should be careful not to use a lot of power during the heats.

All eyes will be on him and they might box him. He should also focus in order to be strong in the final,” he said. Otsetswe said while Isaac Makwala is ranked number six in the men’s 400m, anything is possible in the competition.

The respected coach notes, stiff competition is on the women’s side. “The odds might be against them but it will depend on which side of the bed they wake up.

They are up against opponents who clocked sub 49 and that might prove difficult for a podium finish. In 400m, it depends on how you distribute your energy,” Otsetswe said. He said in some instances, athletes do not run their races but they mark the opposition.

Otsetswe advised that the women should study the start list. “Video clips are available online. They could see the performance of their opponents and pick if they start strong or are strong finishers.

There is no time to sleep a day before the race,” he said. Otsetswe said the major threat for the men’s 4x400m relay team is the United States of America (USA). He said Botswana is on the same level as the likes of Jamaica. He said in that regard they also stand a chance of stealing a medal. Lion’s Den athletics club coach, Lebone Moreri said athletics can bring four medals from the Olympics.

“The fourth medal is [most likely] from Amantle Montsho. Makwala might settle for silver or bronze in 400m. Amos will settle for a gold medal. He is in good shape and already he has set the men’s 800m world record stopping the clock at 1:42:91,” he said.

Editor's Comment
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