Thebe’s Ivory Coast move crumbles

17 Dec 2018

By Godfrey Mowaneng

Talks over Baboloki Thebe’s long vaunted move to train in Ivory Coast have broken down. The celebrated Olympian 400m sprinter was expected to relocate to the West African country as part of his preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

While at the Ivory Coast, the athlete was expected to train under the watchful eye of experienced Ivorian high performance coach Anthony Koffi.

Close sources indicate that the move failed due to financial constraints. It has been brought to the attention of Sunday Standard that the mooted relocation collapsed due to expectations that the athlete cover for his expenses during his stay at the West African country.

With the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) through the Botswana National Olympics Committee having allegedly distanced themselves from the arrangement, the athlete is reported to have since decided to undertake his pre-season training at the Potchestroom High Performance Centre in South Africa.

Sunday Standard has since turned out information that the move to Ivory Coast was negotiated by Thebe and his team without consent of his current coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe and the BAA top brass.

It has since been revealed that this oversight by Thebe and his team not to engage his current coach and the BAA contributed immensely to the failure as it was felt ‘the athlete did not channel his request by the book.’

‘’When pre season kick started early this month, Thebe was expected to be among the crème de la crème of athletes training under Koffi but due to unforeseen circumstances the move collapsed and he finds himself in South Africa instead,” a source said.

“He was expected to cover expenses of his stay in Ivory Coast from his pocket and he could not afford as the programme was expected to end just ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games,” the source said when giving reasons for the collapse of his relocation attempts.

On how this has affected the athlete, the source had this to say; “He (Thebe) is disappointed that he did not make it but he is now focused and willing to work hard wherever he is training.’’

Thebe, the reigning African 400m champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist is said to have his eyes on the podium place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games after being one of the constant features in the IAAF Diamond league.

The 400m track star is also an integral figure in the national 4X 400 senior men relay team that scooped silver recently at the Bahamas IAAF World relays and Gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

BAA mouthpiece Ipolokeng Ramatshaba shied away from commenting much on the matter, however saying the BNOC has a program for the 2020 Tokyo. ‘’We are aware that Thebe wanted to train in Ivory Coast and at the moment we do not know what transpired. The executive committee will convene this Sunday (today) for a meeting that will address issues of preparations for the games and we will know better on the way forward. The BNOC also has a programme and as the parent organisation that we seek funding from, it is only them that can assist in funding athlete to train regionally and internationally,’’ Ramatshaba told Sunday Standard.