Isaac Makwala was the toast of the day at the just ended Senn Foods Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) National championships, winning both the 100 meters and 200 meters sprints.
In what was promising to be a battle of Botswana’s best in Makwala and Yatea Kambepera, it was Makwala who walked away the winner.
While the former Jamaican-based sprinter dazzled in the track, Kambepera nearly had a nightmarish championship, losing his grip in the sprints as well as his 10.36 seconds 100 meters national record to the inform Makwala.
After suffering a series of injuries that set him back following his record breaking breakthrough championships in 2012, many had expected this to be Kambepera’s redemption year.
While he ran his new personal best of 10.35 seconds in 100 meters, the Sehithwa born athlete was no match for Makwala who clocked an impressive 10.20 seconds in the race to not only win the race but also set a new national record.
The two were closely followed in third by Namibian sprinter Jesse Urikhob who clocked 10.55 seconds. Kambepera would later have a nightmare in the 400 X 100m relay as he dropped his baton with his Maun club poised for a podium finish.
Makwala was on the other hand not finished as he went on to claim win the 200 meters race the following morning while Kambepera did not even make the winners’ podium, finishing a distant 7th.
Makwala, who finished the 200m sprint in 20.39 seconds, was joined on the podium by Pako Seribe and Urikhob, both of who clocked 20.77 sec and 21.16 sec to come second and third respectively.
In the ladies’ 100 meters sprint, it was Leungo Matlhaku who won the race ahead of Tsaone Sebele and Gofaone Ditsheko. Matlhaku clocked 11.49 seconds to win the race while Sebele and Ditsheko made it in 12.25 seconds and 12.49 seconds respectively. The ladies 200 meters went to Lydia Jele while Matlhaku and Sebele finished second and third respectively.
Jele finished the race in 24.01 seconds while Matlhaku and Sebele clocked 24.75 seconds and 25.80 seconds.
Jele’s win capped another fine weekend for her as she had also won the ladies’ 400 meters with a time of 52.81 seconds.
She beat fellow Botswana National teammates Goitseone Seleka and Christine Botlogetswe who clocked 54.54 seconds and 55.51 seconds respectively to come second and third.
Meanwhile, Botswana’s 800 meters wonder kid Nijel Amos’ preparations for the Diamond League continued to gain momentum as he won the men’s 400 meters in 45.75 seconds.
Amos beat off competition from Leaname Maotoanong and Botswana’s emerging young talent, Leungo Scotch of Ngami Junior Secondary School to win the race. The win would have delighted Amos and his coaches as the athlete prepares for his 800 meters Diamond League debut at the Doha, United Arab Emirates meet this coming Friday.
In field events, Omphile Phokoje was all smiles as he won the men’s shot-put with a 13.80 meters throw.
By doing such, Phokoje set a new record in the discipline as he broke Albert Lebala’s record in the event. Senn Foods National Championships is sponsored by Senn Foods Botswana. This year, the championships had attracted competitors from Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.