Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Botswana’s Young Guns impress Namibian Sprint Great

Former Namibian great, Frank ‘Frankie’ Fredericks says he was impressed by the performance of Botswana’s youthful athletes. The former African and World champion said this after witnessing Botswana’s junior athletes out gun their seniors during the Senn Foods Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) National Championships. “I am impressed with the competition and I am impressed with the talent I have seen, so I would like to say well done to the Botswana Athletics Association,” Fredericks said.

The former sprinter, who specialised in the 100m and 200m races, was particularly impressed by the performance of one Baboloki Thebe. Despite running with an injury which he sustained during the 200m heats, the youngster managed to win both the 100m and 200m finals, though clocking slower times than he did the week before during the Sports View International Meet and the weekend’s heats. Thebe won the 100m finals in 10.50 seconds, ahead of University of Botswana’s Keene Motukisi and Swaziland’s Shongwe Malaudvo who clocked 10.64 and 10.65 seconds in second and third positions respectively. The youngster would then go on to clinch the 200m finals ahead of Gaone Leaname Maotoanong and another fellow junior athlete Karabo Mothibi on Sunday.

Thebe clocked 20.68 seconds to win the race before slumping to the ground as his injury caught up with him. “I was very impressed with the 200m runner yesterday. He ran very relaxed and I think he ran 20.57 or 20.58 and today 20.69. I think the way he executed the first 150m was phenomenal,” Fredericks said of Thebe. While impressed with Thebe’s exploits, Fredericks said he will need to focus more on his strength and fine tune his first 150m more, saying it is not the way an athlete finishes but rather the way the athlete executes the all important first 150m that will make him win. Aside from Thebe, the other athlete who impressed was 20-year-old Boitumelo Masilo who won the men’s 800m race. In what was a hard fought battle, the youngster out foxed his most illustrious competitors, among them Sherperd Kenatshele to win the race.

The race will however be remembered for a repugnant unsporting behaviour from Kenatshele, who tried to trip Masilo as the youngster passed him on the home straight. Justice was however served as the youngster still managed to stand on his feet and round Kenatshele to finish first, while Kenatshele, who came second, was disqualified. In the field events, Botswana’s Potchefstroom based javelin thrower, Stephan Beukes was the pick of the field as he threw 80.49 metres to win the Javelin event. The result means the 20-year-old is just 1.5 metres short of meeting the Olympic Qualifying standards for Javelin, which stand at 82 metres.

Speaking after the event, Beukes said he was happy with his performance, more especially as he just returned from a month long injury. “I have been working hard to get 80 metres and finally I got it and it was at National Championships, on home turf. It was amazing, I had tears of joy when they read 80.4, it was amazing,” Beukes said.

Going forth, the youngster said he will be working hard to pass the 82 metre mark and qualify for the Olympics as well as the World Championships. In the ladies category, Tsaone Sebele was the toast of the weekend as she continued her domination of the ladies’ 100m and 200m sprints. Having won both the events during the Sports View International Meet the previous weekend, Sebele showed her performance was no fluke as she repeated her performances. Also fresh from injury, Sebele said while happy with her performances, she also realises she has a long way to go as she continues her comeback. With this in mind, she said she will now be eyeing to set the new national records.


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