An illustrious career spanning more than two decades has come to an end. Amantle Victor-Nkape (Montsho) announced her retirement from professional athletics yesterday during a press conference held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).
“It was always exciting to represent my country on the international stage. Imagine the adrenaline rush when I step on the track knowing that all eyes are on me. That made it extra special. I had fans from all over the world but the support back home was the best,” a typically shy Montsho said.
Montsho grew up at a time when female athletes were not encouraged to take part in sport. The 400m specialist said her retirement plan will be unveiled at a later date and arrangements are being made by her management team.
A representative of Montsho’s management company, Dulang Sebera said the plan is to celebrate the athletes’ achievements.
“We are going to share her stories, the difficulties that she encountered as a gild-child travelling the world alone during an era when racism was rife. We are going to talk about the difficult times that she went through and we hope that her experiences would pave the way for young girls,” he said.
Montsho became the first woman to represent Botswana at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, reaching the final at the latter edition. She has competed at the world championships and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) now World Athletics (WA) indoor championships, and is a former 400m world champion, winning with a personal best time of 49.56 in Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
Montsho was suspended for two years for an anti-doping rule violation after she tested positive for methylhexaneamine at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the only blot of an otherwise glittering career.
Montsho is a two-time African Championships gold medallist in the 400m. She has also won titles in the event at the 2007 All Africa Games, the 2010 World Athletics Continental Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Her Commonwealth win made her Botswana’s first-ever gold medallist of the games. Her personal best times are 11.60 seconds in the 100m, 22.89 seconds in the 200m and 49.33 seconds in the 400m. In 2006, the Maun-born star started training at the High-Performance Training Centre in Dakar, Senegal. During her stay in Dakar, she became fluent in French. She went to Senegal as a beneficiary of the elite scholarship where Ivorian, Anthony Koffi was her coach.