The country’s 400 metres female runner, Amantle Montsho who was contemplating to retire from athletics this year has decided to defer the retirement at least by another year in order to represent the country at the 2021 Olympics, this publication has learnt.
Montsho had planned to retire after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed to August 2021 due to the covid-19 outbreak. The Maun native qualified for the games in March after clocking 51.22 seconds in the 400 metres during the UB Athletics Club finale meet . There has been fear as to whether the athlete will not participate at the the postponed Olympics as she has already indicated that she will be retiring this year.
The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) as well as the Botswana Athletics Association has been trying to convince the athlete to represent the country at the next year Olympics.
“Amantle Montsho is one of the athletes who has already taken a decision that they are retiring, the 2020 Olympics was supposed to be her last competitions, so we are still pleading trying to convince her to represent us next year,” BNSC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho said in a press briefing recently.
“When we had a chat last time the agreement was for her to come and run up to the 2020 Olympics but that didn’t happen, so at the moment we are still in a process to see if we could maybe convince her to give us another year,” Athletics Coach, Justice Dipeba also indicated in an interview.
The Patriot Sport has however learnt that Montsho has acceded to the requests and is already preparing for 2021 Olympics. Efforts to get a comment from the athlete was not successful as her phone was not going through. But a source close to the developments revealed that Montsho will not retire this year as she has previously planned. The athletes is said to be even aiming for a medal at the 2021 Olympics.
Meanwhile Dipeba previously told this publication that they will be happy to see Montsho back noting that the athlete is a crucial member of Botswana’s athletics team. The athletics coach added that Montsho is also a role model, motivator and a mentor to their female athletes.
“Amantle is a crucial member of the team, she is a core member of the women’s 4 by 4 relay team. So if we lose her it means we will have to work more harder to make sure that other girls come to her standard or else the gap will be visible,” Dipeba pointed.
Dipeba noted that even though there are other female athletes in camp who can cover up for Montsho’s absence, he however still believes that the athlete being there would make a great impact. “Running is not only about having the speed, experience also counts and Montsho has it, she has been in the business for quite some time so that counts a lot. She also gives other girls confidence which happen to boost their performance,” Dipeba further stressed.
Commenting on Montsho’s plan to retire Dipeba also acknowledges that the athlete has done her part and also did well for the country. He pointed that it is also always advisable for an athlete to retire while still at her best, noting that Montsho has already achieved a lot.
“I will not have any hard feelings if Amantle decide to call it a day because she has already done a lot, her age also matters. I believe its time for her now to start thinking about other staff in her life besides running, she has done really amazing” Dipeba appreciated.
To mention just a few, the 37 years old sprinter won the country a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games after clocking 50.10. She also won another gold medal in 2011 at at World Championship in Daegu with a time of 49.56.