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A Look At Botswana’s Impressive Diamond League History

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  •  Botswana is the third most successful country in the competition’
  • Montsho the first female 400m athlete to win three titles in a row

BONGANI MALUNGA

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown, the world renowned IAAF Diamond League has been postponed while the world is still adjusting to life in the Coronavirus spell. The Diamond League originally was scheduled to start on April 17 but it has been postponed due to the Coronavirus.

he illustrious competition is the busiest and toughest competition in the track and field world given its multi edition setup, it is also staged in different parts of the world with gruelling traveling schedules that can also have an effect on athletes’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Botswana’s IAAF Diamond League participants have adapted to the demanding nature of the competition with relative ease, they often shine in the competition and place themselves alongside the world’s best. To date, Botswana is ranked 11th in the all-time ranking of competition winners, Botswana accounts for seven Diamond League triumphs courtesy of Amantle Montsho, Nijel Amos and Isaac Makwala.

Botswana is also the third most successful African country in the history of the competition trailing only Kenya (44 titles) and Ethiopia (14 titles) on the all-time list.

AMANTLE MONTSHO
Montsho began the country’s Diamond League success story by winning the competition in 2011, back when the competition used a points system throughout the season. The women’s 400m powerhouse would go on to dominate her category by winning the 2012 and 2013 editions as well.

Montsho achieved this feat during the most competitive era in the women’s 400m category whereby she had to face rivals such as Alyson Felix, Christine Ohuruogu, Sanya Richards-Ross and Novlene Williams Mills. Her 2013 Diamond League triumph was a sweet victory as she finally avenged her 2012 Olympics loss.

At the time she was the only female track athlete to have won the competition in three successive years, the record is yet to be surpassed in the women’s 400m category.

NIJEL AMOS
Amos made his Diamond League debut in 2013 and went on to win the competition the following year (2014). En route to winning the competition, he overcame his greatest rival David Rudisha that season to take the trophy home. The Marobela native repeated the feat in 2015 as he sailed through the season with ease once again, his consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015 made him the joint most successful male 800m athlete in the competition at the time, he shared the record with Rudisha and Mohammed Aman.

In 2016 injuries limited his appearances in the competition. 2017 was a big comeback year as he ended up winning the competition, this time around the rules had changed as the points system did not determine the winner. The 2017 season required athletes to rack up points to qualify for the grand finale, Amos won the 800m final to bag a record third Diamond League title. He is still the most successful male 800m athlete in the competition’s history.

ISAAC MAKWALA
Makwala had always been a formidable athlete at national and continental levels but an international medal or trophy had eluded him for many years. However, in 2017 he finally lived up to his potential to win the men’s 400m Diamond League title. That season, Makwala had finished 7th in the points rankings and qualified for the 400m final in Zurich, Switzerland.
Prior to the final, countryman Baboloki Thebe had been the hot favourite as he had accumulated more points ahead of all competitors, Thebe then suffered an injury which ruled him out of the final. Makwala then produced one of his best performances as he won the final to pick up his first international accolade.

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