As if diamonds are not enough, Botswana has won gold.
Amantle Montsho has written her name in the annals of Botswana’s sporting history with yet another outstanding performance in the international arena.
Botswana’s golden girl on Friday became the first ever Motswana athlete to get a gold in major events.
In a day that saw Botswana’s 400m male athletes crushing out of medal contention, Montsho put smiles on the faces of Batswana as she showed her competitors a pair of clean heels to clinch the race.
The 26-year-old athlete clocked 50.10 seconds, shaving 0.07seconds off the existing women 400m Commonwealth record set in 1998 by Jamaican runner Alexandre Richards.
Starting in the fourth lane, Montsho did as expected of her as she set a blistering pace to take control of the race and eventually win it with ease. Speaking to Standard Sport after clinching her medal, Montsho said she was very happy with her record breaking performance, adding that it is a culmination of hard work and concentration.
“When I went to the Africa Games, my concentration was always on performing well in the Commonwealth Games. I am happy and very proud of achieving this for the country,” she said.
Unlike in the past international races where she seemed to falter at the last minute, this time around, Botswana’s reigning Sportsperson of the Year held her nerve and shrugged off the heavy expectations to put in a brilliant performance.
Commenting on this, Montsho said ever since the Beijing Olympics where she made the final but finished last, she had changed her training programme to correct her weaknesses.
“I worked hard on increasing my speed, especially on the home straight run, which I believe has worked well for me,” she said.
Montsho also says the professional coaching she is getting outside the country has helped her a lot.
With the Commonwealth medal now in hand, the soft spoken starlet says she is now eyeing making the finals of the World Championships next year, but quickly added that it is too early to talk about getting a medal at the championships.
For his part, the team’s Head of Mission, Tuelo Serufho, expressed delight at Montsho’s performance saying it will inspire others to do their best. He says after seeing Montsho’s brilliant performance in the semi-finals, they were in no doubt that the local lass would bring the country glory. Serufho says they are still hopeful of getting more medals at the games. The country’s medal hopes are now pinned on the men and ladies 400m x 400m, which starts tomorrow (Monday).