All eyes on Amos as Amantle crashes off medal podium
by Botlhale Koothupile
Botswana’s dream of a maiden Olympic medal has been deferred as all but one of the country’s elite athletes crashed out of the Olympics without getting a medal.
In what was perhaps the most surprising result of all, the country’s golden girl, Amantle Montsho, fell short of clinching the medal after coming in fourth position during the ongoing London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Montsho’s failure to clinch the much expected medal now means all eyes are on the country’s 800-meter running sensation, Nijel Amos, to redeem the country’s pride in what now looks set to be another failed Olympic campaign. While the teenager is making his debut at the Olympics, his form going into these games makes him a real medal contender. In his preparations for the games, the youngster ran the second fastest time in the 800 meters race behind the reigning world champion David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya. In his preliminary heat race on Monday, the youngster ran the second fastest qualifying time of 1:45, 90 to make it into the semifinals, though it was below his personal best of 1:43, 11.
The heat result, which was equal to that of Rudisha, puts the youngster in a good position to fight for a medal. Should he make it into the finals today, Amos will redeem Botswana’s pride in Olympic Games filled with much expectation but having failed to deliver this far.
After a campaign build up that began with much promise, Botswana is yet to register a medal as the country’s prominent athletes fell by the wayside. First off was boxer Oteng Oteng who lost his preliminary bout 14 – 12 to Puerto Rican teenager Jeyvier Cintron Ocasio. The boxer was soon followed by the country’s 400 meters men runner, Isaac Makwala, who crashed out in the preliminaries of his event on Saturday. The duo’s failure was, however, almost forgotten when the country’s top medal hopeful Montsho cruised through the women’s 400 meters heats and semifinals to set herself up for a potential Olympic medal this past Sunday night, raising the hopes of a nation thirsting for a maiden Olympic medal.
However, those hopes came crashing down when Montsho came fourth behind American runner Sanya Richards-Ross, Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu and another USA runner DeeDee Trotter. While a tough competition was long expected, more especially between Montsho and her archrival Richards-Ross as well as the then Olympic defending champion Ohuruogu, Montsho’s failure to get into the medal podium will raise again the question of whether she can cope with pressure.