• After multiple injuries derail Doha plans
• Botswana athletes return empty handed from World Champs
Prior to the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar local athletes were expected to shine and prove their mettle against other best athletes from across the world. However just like two years back in London it seems like the team will return home empty handed when it comes to medals. Though Botswana did send a contingent of 13 athletes with four of them having qualified for individual races, no athlete managed to reach the finals from the blue, black and white camp due to injuries and tough competition. Following a dismal showing in the individual events coupled with injuries which affected performance of athletes and barred some from competing, Botswana’s medal hopes remains on the relay teams.
Nijel Amos who carried the country’s in his quest for a first world championship medal was the first athlete to go out of the competition without even tasting action. Amos sustained an injury few hours before the start of the 800m heats a predicament which forced the medical team to pull him out of the competition due to fears of aggravating his injury. The 25 year old was one of the athletes who was being tipped to shine at this year’s championships considering his splendid form throughout the season- he was also one of Botswana’s leading medal prospects.
Another athlete who has been on a fine form Galefele Moroko was forced to pull out of the competition after sustaining an injury during the 400m semifinals though she was one of the athletes destined to do everything to reach the finals. Moroko who appears to have suffered a hamstring injury will be out of action for a period of 6-8 weeks while recuperating. Leungo Scotch and Christine Botlogetswe possess minor injuries though they managed to finish their respective races throughout-with Botlogetswe finishing 6th during the heats while Scotch managed to reach only semifinals. however the positives that can be drawn from Scotch’s performance is that he managed to improve his times clocking two successive personal bests of 45.10 and 45.00 seconds respectively. Ditiro Nzamani a debutant at the competition also had a tournament to forget after he failed to progress to the semifinals after finishing 4th during the heats .
“I think our performance was good because this is a team of young athletes and at the world championships you do not just sail to the finals. It is tough competition, even to go through the first round you work hard. I think in an event like 400m we should have made it through to the finals but unfortunately Moroko got injured. But I think our athletes have seen that it is possible for them to compete with other top athletes, remember almost all of them is their first time to compete at this level,” said coach Justice Dipeba in an interview.
For the past years local athletes have been troubled by injures which have sidelined them from action for some time. Baboloki Thebe has been struggling with injuries this season which affected his performance at the Diamond League series- he went on the incur another one during the Africa games which forced him out of the team though he did qualify for the World Championships. Isaac Makwala and Karabo Sibanda have also been battling with long term injuries which have even barred them from trying to qualify for the biennial track and field event. When quizzed if there is something that Botswana is not doing right in terms of training athletes Dipeba had to say this,
“Injuries are part of our sport but like I said before we as coaches cannot be the only people who are preparing the athletes. We need to have more personnel to help avoid these injuries, we need physiotherapists and dieticians. So now we have to come back home, take little rest and head back to training because we don’t have much time left until the Olympics, we have to hit the ground running,” he said. As it stands only Botlogetswe, Amos and Moroko have qualified for Olympics.