Four years after their most successful outing at the Commonwealth Games, Team Botswana will only bring a single medal from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, courtesy of Nijel Amos who won gold in the 800 meter race.
The 20 year old proved that he deserved to be appointed the country’s flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games when he fought hard to win gold for Botswana. Amos proved his mettle once again when he steamed ahead of reigning World and Olympic champion David Rudisha to claim the country’s only medal.
His win spared Team Botswana serious embarrassment in what could have been the country’s worst ever Commonwealth outing since the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
After witnessing his fellow athletes fall like dominoes at the Commonwealth Arena, Amos ran a very tactical race to win gold. He was boxed-in by Rudisha and his compatriot Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich as they raced into the home straight.
But the youngster checked his step and rounded the Kenyans to sprint home and claim gold. Amos finished his race in 1:45.18min while Rudisha came second in 1:45.48. Rotich, who at one point seemed to be on Amos’s way, was then beaten to the line by Amos’ South African training partner, Andre Oliver, who claimed bronze in 1:46.03. Save for the gold medal, which is weighed more heavily than others, this will be the lowest medal tally for the country since the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
There were huge expectations when Team Botswana left home for Glasgow. The nation expected the team to improve on their four medal tally of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. But this was not to be as Botswana’s athletes wilted in the face of heightened competition at this year’s games. Things started going awry for Botswana on the second day of the games as three of its athletes, who were among the country’s hot medal prospect, faltered and lost to their opponents. In squash, Alistair Walker lost his round of sixteen games against Ivan Yuen of Malaysia. On the same day, 17 year old judoka, Memory Zikhale also lost to Sunibala Huidrom of India while boxing’s Thabang Motsewabeng lost his first match against Kenya’s Elly Ajowi Ochoa. Botswana’s medal prospects were dented even more on the sixth day when the men’s 400 meters runners, Isaak Makwala and Pako Seribe both failed to make it past the semifinals.
While the duo had shown glimpses of good form going into the games, none of them fulfilled the promise as they failed to match their best times of 2014. Things took a turn for the worst in the women’s 400 meters finals when Delhi 2010 gold medalist, Amantle Montsho failed to make the podium. After leading for the larger part of the race, Montsho was beaten to the line by the Jamaican trio of Stephanie McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Christine Day.
Another hot medal prospect, boxer Oteng Oteng, who won one of Botswana’s four medals at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games also faltered in Scotland. He lost 3 ÔÇô 0 to Scotland’s Reece McFadden in the quarterfinals earlier in the day. Team Botswana had targeted to surpass the four medal haul of the Delhi 2010 Games and it was a major setback for them to bring home a single medal from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The team is expected back home early next week.