- Botswana’s premier track star gets better with age
- Makwala becomes Botswana’s first ever athlete to win two gold medals in one tournament
Benjamin Button is a fictional movie character who aged backwards, defying the usual cycle and order of age, Botswana’s sprint king Isaac Makwala has also asserted himself as an age defying athlete who seems to get better with age. While many athletes are in the twilight of their careers after passing the age of 30, Makwala appears to be just getting started as he has ended a decade long drought of a podium finish at an international tournament.
Makwala had watched in envy as the likes of LaShawn Merritt, Kirani James and many other 400m athletes won international titles. Initially it had appeared that national and regional championships were his forte while the international stage was his ‘Achilles heel’, he had struggled to get past the heats or finish higher than fifth in major tournaments.
With age comes injuries and muscle restrictions but try telling that to Makwala who has dispelled any notion that a seasoned athlete cannot turn back the hands of time and pursue world domination. Last year he became the eighth fastest 200m athlete of all time, he also became the first ever athlete to run sub 20 seconds in 200m and sub 45 second in 400m in the same day.
He recorded the remarkable feat in Madrid, Spain and it set the tone for his international resurgence. Makwala won the IAAF Diamond League in the 400m category and that finally made him a household name in an international sense.
Last week Makwala won his first 400m gold medal at the just ended Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, he also helped the men’s 4x400m relay team win a gold medal a few days later. Makwala became the first ever Botswana athlete to win two gold medals in a single international tournament.
The next step for Makwala will be to defend his IAAF Daimond League title, the first meet of the multi series tournament will take place in Doha on May 4th, he will need to win at least three Diamond League races to qualify for the Diamond League final in Brussels, Belgium on August 31.