This upcoming weekend (Saturday at the National Stadium) will showcase some of the best athletes Botswana has to offer as continental and world giants such as Isaac Makwala, Amantle Montsho, Lydia Jele, Karabo Sibanda and Baboloki Thebe, among others, will all be vying for the 400m crown in their respective categories.
Although numerous race categories are expected to provide spectators with thrilling performances the 400m duels in the men and women’s categories could prove to be the highlight. In the men’s category, Botswana’s holy trinity of 400m stars includes Makwala, Sibanda and Thebe.
The trio are teammates in Botswana’s 4x400m relay team, the last time the trio faced off in direct competition was in the 2016 African Senior Championships where Thebe and Sibanda stunned the continent by out-pacing the more experienced Makwala.
The latter was the defending African 400m champion but he lost out to fellow countryman Thebe while Sibanda clinched a silver medal, Makwala finished fourth in the Durban held competition. This weekend, Makwala will have a chance to regain his place as the country’s top 400m athlete but he will be given a stern test by the aforementioned young duo.
In the women’s 400m category Montsho will be looking to build on her impressive performance in the Botswana Athletics Association Series in Francistown whereby she qualified for the 2017 IAAF World Championships. She will be competing against Jele who has developed into one of the country’s best 400m athletes, Jele also boasts an Olympic appearance under her belt as she is also targeting to topple Montsho.
The organizer of the GIM, Glody Dube told Gazette Sport that preparations have been going well and they expect to stage a successful tournament. Dube also revealed that they are behind in terms of finalizing prize money availability but remained hopeful it will be resolved days before the event.
“In terms of logistics we have set everything in the highest order, the standard has been raised because this is an event where world records can be tied or even surpassed, we are going to make sure that we keep IAAF updated. We want to make sure that our athletes and other international athletes to participate in a world class tournament and we believe everything is in place,” Dube stated.
Dube stated that the National Stadium held competition will not be broadcast live but will rather be delayed as they could agree on a broadcasting deal with Botswana Television and other South African broadcasters. He further stated that BTV would provide a delayed broadcast of the Meet a few days later.