On current form, Botswana has cemented its place as the best sporting nation in athletics in Africa. Botswana has been Africa’s most consistent nation in athletics around the world in recent years
Botswana’s Nijel Amos (800m), Isaac Makwala (400m) and Amantle Montsho (400m) are still ranked in the top five global athletes in their respective categories. No other athlete from any of the African countries is in the same ranking bracket as the mentioned trio.
Amos is ranked first in the world in the 800m category according to Allathletics.com’s monthly rankings. The track star won the IAAF Diamond League in his debut season and strengthened his grip on the global 800m crown last year. He also won a gold medal at the 2014 African Senior Championships in Athletics plus he is the highest ranked African athlete in 800m races.
Amos achieved a historic feat in the last three years; he won the 2012 World Youth Championships 800m race, a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games and followed up his success in 2014 with a treble of achievements that also included winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in addition to his African and Diamond League crowns.
Amos was inactive in 2013 but he has catapulted to be the best in the world. He has surpassed perennial rival David Rudisha as the flag bearer of 800m races. At only 21, he looks set to break more records and ultimately cement his place as one of the greatest track athletes of all time.
400m African champion, Makwala, is regarded as the fastest ever athlete from the continent after recording the fastest ever continental record of 44.01 seconds last year. He has been Africa’s highest ranked male athlete in the 400m category.
In terms of world rankings, Makwala is the third best in terms of global recognition. He is behind LaShawn Merritt (USA) and Kirani James (Grenada) in the pecking order. Last year Makwala became the first 400m Southern African male athlete to win a Diamond League meet when he triumphed in Glasgow, Scotland.
He is ranked first in Africa’s 400m category and he looks set to fly the continental flag high as he continues to build his name in the world stage, the Botswana athlete is the only African athlete with the ability to dethrone Merritt as the world’s best 400m sprint king.
In an interview with Gazette Sport, Makwala credits hard work and maintaining a professional attitude as the secret to Botswana’s success. “We are strong in 400m and 800m competitions. We are chasing records and accomplishments to stand alongside the world’s best, we have done so in a professional manner and working hard to achieve our goals. I am personally motivated to win this year’s 400m Diamond League and reach the top three at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing,” Makwala stated.
Despite her two year drug ban, Montsho is still in the top five of the women’s 400m world rankings. She is currently ranked fifth in the current Allathletics.com rankings despite being inactive since the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Montsho is the most successful track athlete in IAAF Diamond League history. She remains the only athlete to win three consecutive Diamond League titles, Montsho achieved the feat for efforts in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The former African champion holds the record for the fastest women’s 400m sprint in the Diamond League (49.33), a record she achieved during her peak form in 2013.