Botswana’s foreign based 400m runner Onkabetse Nkobolo recorded a Personal Best 45.36 bettering his previous best of 45.81 at the 33rd Madrid IAAF World Challenge meet, held in Spain.
Nkobolo’s time marked what has been a storybook season for him in Spain as he went under the qualification standards for the upcoming World Championships to be held in Beijing next month and also booked a place in the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The 23 year old shared his delight in an interview with the Gazette Sport. “My target this year was the World Championships but God blessed me with a double delight,” said the ecstatic Nkobolo.
Nkobolo has since singed in appraisal of his national relay teammate Isaac Makwala for his performance on Saturday night. “I want to thank Makwala for helping me before the race, I ended up calling him for a few tips. He told me to take lane 7 and I was glad everything worked out, for that i’m grateful to that man,” the athlete said.
This reporter reached out to the Germany based Makwala on how he inspired his countryman’s heroics. “The young man called me before the race, it’s usual routine we get up to, he had to choose between lane 2 and 7 and I just told him to take the outside lane, this was because he is tall and usually the lane 2 meant he had to work his spikes on the first curve hence that would disrupt his planned race pace. I am glad that he took my advice and put it into practice to help him hit a Personal Best and grab dual qualification to the World Championships and Olympic Games,” stated Makwala.
Nkobolo will face a baptism of fire as he prepares for his maiden appearances in the World Championships and Olympics when he faces the big guns of the IAAF Diamond League who ‘on paper’ are ahead of the lanky athlete as they have shown by hitting sub 44 in different Diamond League meetings this season.
Nkobolo joins the World Championships and Olympic bound cast list of 800m sensation Nijel Amos, 400m ace Makwala who also on their respective rights stand a huge chance of securing medals for the country in quest to emulate former women’s 400m Amantle Montsho who brought the country’s first gold medal in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea.