Friday, December 1, 2023

Thebe to chase Olympic dream far from home

Local 400m sprinter Baboloki Thebe is allegedly on the brink of relocating to Ivory Coast where he will train under the watchful eye of Ivorian high performance coach Anthony Koffi.

Sunday Standard has established that Thebe is expected to move base when the athletics season comes to an end this coming November in order to prepare for the new season ahead.

The muted relocation of the 400m starlet is viewed as an attempt to make him realise his full potential. Koffi is well known for his transformation of athletes in the likes of former World 400m champion Amantle Montsho and on form Ivorian 100m sprinter Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

With over two decades coaching experience, Koffi, who has trained athletes from across Senegal, Sudan, Gambia and Botswana is allegedly viewed as the right man to take Thebe to the next level.

Under the tutelage of the Ivorian, it is expected that 21 year old Thebe’s promising career will finally take off at the Abidjan High Performance Centre. Koffi’s training program is said to be rotation of workouts on the beach, nearby hills and weight room adjacent to the track.

His program was efficient for Montsho as she developed into one of the greatest 400m sprinters while training under him at the Dakar High performance centre in Senegal.

Close sources have revealed that the move is also an effort to drive Thebe for an Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. After an exceptional debut in the international athletics arena, Thebe has been among the most promising youngsters in the 400m battle. Thebe’s breakthrough year came in 2016 when he clocked 44.22 seconds, placing him third on the global seasonal lists.

Ever since then, Thebe, who is the reigning African 400m champion, has garnered many accolades, among them the Commonwealth Games silver and is one of the constant features in the Diamond League.

He has also been an integral figure in Botswana athletics’ 4x 400 senior men relay team which has performed very well over the past two years. With him in the mix, the local men’s 4X400m relay scooped silver at the Bahamas IAAF World relays.

Early this year, the Ramonaka born sprinter scooped silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and cruised home with a Gold medal in the 4x400m relay. With the IAAF Diamond league finals set for 31st August in Brussels, Thebe is expected to be among the finalists of the 400m race.

Reached for comment, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) President Thari Mooketsi said they are still not aware of the developments.

‘’At the moment we are still off season and nothing official has been communicated to the mother body. It should be understood that these athletes have clubs and coaches so they are the ones responsible for planning and preparation of athletes before consulting with us on their recommendations. At the moment we are only aware that he will be preparing for the upcoming continental showpiece,” Mooketsi told Sunday Standard.

Commenting on the matter, Thebe’s local coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe said while he has not been notified of the impending move, he cannot deny the rumours. “There is nothing official on the matter as it has never been communicated to us,” he said.

The coach however said given the signs he saw while at the Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, the alleged rumours of Thebe’s impending move may be true.

“I only realised when we were in Nigeria that something might be happening. It is a fact that some coaches target athletes entering their prime so as to take advantage and prestige,” he said.

“Thebe is only 21 years and at 25, he will be unstoppable on the track. However, if he wants to move, we cannot stand in his way,” he concluded.


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