All eyes were on two sprinters, Tebogo Letsile (200m) and Collen Kebinatshipi (400m) finals in the wee hours of Friday as Botswana hoped to add to her medal haul at the World Athletics Junior Championships in Cali, Columbia.
The 200m race generated a lot of interest as the world was eager to see if Tebogo, who has become synonymous with breaking records in the 100m category, will repeat the same feat in the 200m. He was on the track at 0100hrs on Friday. Although Tebogo,19, was expected to sign out of the youth championships with a gold medal and a new record to avenge the silver he won in the last edition of the games, it was not to be. “Letsile is in his own league, he is in top shape, though we do not want to be complacent. We are taking this final very serious,” Team Botswana Coach, Chilume Ntshwarang was quoted saying.
In the end Tebogo had to settle for a silver medal in the 200 metres finals with a personal best time of 19.96 in a very close tie with the winner – Blessing Akawasi Afrifah of Israel.
Meanwhile, Botswana’s 4×100 metres men’s s relay team suffered a major blow when they were disqualified for running outside their take over zone on Friday. Botswana Athletics Association Vice President, Oabona Theetso, was quoted saying “Our men’s 4 x 100m relay team has been disqualified. The team had registered a National U20 Record of 39.72, finishing in position 3 of their heat. The disqualification was based on the technical rule 24.19 which states that athletes are not permitted to run outside their takeover zones, and shall start within their zones.The rule further states that if an athlete does not follow this rule, their team shall be disqualified”.
Collen Kebinatshipi, who had finished on position four on Friday morning in the 400m finals was also disqualified for lane infringement. He was on lane three at 12:50am, alongside Yusuf Ali Abbas of Bahrain, Canadian Tyler Floyd, USA’s Steven McElroy, South Africa’s Lythe Pillay, Jamaica’s Delano Kennedy and Shaemar Uter and Joshua Atkinson of Thailand.
Kebinatshipi had booked himself a slot in the finals after finishing on position one with a time of 45.91s. Ntshwarang had predicted the 400-metre race to be tough, but said the plan was to fight to the end. “All the strong athletes are placed in lane four, five, and six, whereas we are in lane three. I think it is easier to plan when you are coming from the back, where they cannot see what you are doing,” he said.
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