A Job Well Done By National U20 World Athletics Team
‘We owe our success to the nation and our coaches’- Team BW
The national World Athletics Under 20 team went to Nairobi, Kenya with their eyes on the prize and were able to exceed expectations when they scooped a collection of gold and silver medals after running some record-breaking times in the history of the championship. They are currently camping together awaiting a promised visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The team of budding sprinters said they owe their successful performance to a team of dedicated coaches and the unwavering support from the nation.
According to 100m gold and 200m silver winner Letsile Tebogo, as a collective they give special thanks to their coaches for not giving up on them pre-training before departure for Kenya and even at the championships. He said training went well for the most part. “What I learnt most importantly is that you have to train yourself at all levels. Moreover, I learnt how to take care of oneself when you are with others,” he added.
Tebogo further mentioned that he experienced little to no challenges on the track field except for stumbling twice; to which he committed to improving on his take off in the future. For him, the greatest accomplishment was setting a target to secure the U20 World Athletics as anticipated. The sprinter who has often been said to use the ‘bolt technique’ by spectators also confirmed that retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt also the greatest runner of all time is his idol. “Bolt is one man I look up to and so I infused what we learnt during training with research I did on him including his diet,”.
Botswana’s 400m gold medalist, Anthony Pesela said his greatest takeaway from the experience was the value of team work during big competitions such as the championships. Pesela also made part of the 4*400m relay team that brought back another gold medal after a stellar show of great sportsmanship on the track. The sensational sprinter recalls the training atmosphere as perfectly suited giving him a calm and collected mindset to prepare for the championship. Teammates Busang Kebinatshipi, Oreeditse Masede and Phenyo Majama shared similar sentiments adding that the coaches gave them a great training programme that was neither strenuous on the body but also allowed them to make it to the championship prepared to represent to the best of their capabilities.
Jayson Mandoze, who featured in 100m&200m races, is still trying to wrap his head around his false start but is grateful for the positivity through the experience which he has since been able to learn from. “I really don’t know what happened but I realized that with these competitions you can just lose. However, it is not the end of the road but rather an opportunity to go back to the drawing board,” he explained. Mandoze also described the competition atmosphere as very heavy from the moment they arrived but they managed to keep the momentum going.
A disappointed Allison Kenosi,a member of the 4*100m relay team, also suffered the same fate further explaining that a video showed technicalities in his take off. Nonetheless he kept his chin up aware of the fact that such things can happen taking into consideration that in the future they just have to prepare. The only female qualifier in the batch Boitshepiso Kelapile added on to the words of Mandoze emphasizing that in a competition there are winners and losers but it does not take away from their talent and their potential to grow. “The experience was scary; it was my first time mixing with so many people from different countries. I do however encourage girls to take active part in sport because it is truly rewarding,” she added.
Off track, the food and the weather which flactuated between extremely cold to hot proved to be the team’s biggest challenge. According to Tumo Lesesere and Abofelo Leitseng the diet was unfamiliar to them and they could not eat much until about third day when they had familiarized themselves with the menu. “It was difficult for me to get through the food contrary to interaction with people around which came easy,” Lesesere mentioned. Running on the track was a walk in the park for Lesesere who further explained that back home, he trained in the sand a lot as early as 4 am in the morning and in the afternoon when the sun was cotching hot; which made cruising through the stadium a breeze. Leitseng acknowledges that a lot was learnt from his experience in Kenya. He hopes to improve on his performance which he believes could improve for the better. “The biggest mistake for me was commencing training late with my training. Training late has negative impacts on your performance but I will rectify this in the future,” he added.
The team of 13 looks forward to future competitions including the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2024 Olympics but for now a majority of them have to focus on their studies. They shared in unison extreme gratitude to the masses of people that showed support online and the efforts of their team coaches on getting them this far. “A big thank you to our supporters across the nation even when we failed at times. We are young, the sky is the limit and there is more to come in the future,” -Team.
Boitshepiso Kelapile (F) 100m
Letsile Tebogo(M) 100m & 200m
Jayson Mandoze (M) 100m&200m
Godiraone Lobatlamang (M) 4*100m relay
Lundi Pinaemang(M) 4*100m relay
Allison Kenosi (M) 4*100m relay
Tumo Lesesere (M) 4*100m
Anthony Pesela (M) 200m&400m
Oreeditse Masede (M) 400*400m relay
Thusoyaone Gabanatlhong (M) 4*400M relay
Busang Kebinatshipi (M) 4*400M relay
Abofelo Leitseng (M) 4*400m relay
Phenyo Majama (M) 4*400m relay