All eyes on Thebe as Diamond League reaches climax

400m Diamond League final on Thursday (from 8pm on Supersport 8)


African 400m champion Baboloki Thebe will have a chance to exorcise last year’s misfortune which robbed him of a place in the 2017 IAAF Diamond League 400m Final. Thebe had qualified for the 2017 final as the competition’s leader in the standings, an injury ruled him out of the main race as Isaac Makwala went on to win the title.
This Thursday, (August 30) in Zurich, Thebe will lace up his spikes in pursuit of his first IAAF Diamond League crown, the highly anticipated 400m final will be televised on Supersport 8 from 8pm. At one point Thebe was in danger of missing out on the final, his participation in the last few Diamond League events enabled him to accumulate enough points to qualify for the final.
A fourth place finish in the London held Diamond League event in July helped him get back into contention to qualify for the final. Thebe finished seventh in his last Diamond League race in Birmingham, England on August 18. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist will have to reach peak form this week in order to win the final.
He will face the likes of Steven Gardiner, Paul Dedewo and Fred Kerley in the Thursday night final. Gardiner is a perennial challenger who won a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships last year while Kerley won the Birmingham race ahead of Thebe as the latter finished seventh earlier this month as stated above.
Reigning Diamond League 400m champion Isaac Makwala will not get a chance to defend his crown in Switzerland owing to a hamstring injury which is expected to rule him out for numerous months. Makwala had qualified for the final as well after accumulating 13 points this season but the injury will see him sit out the final.
The earliest indications are that the this year’s overall leader Abdalaleh Haroun, who has accumulated 35 points this year, may not participate in the final. He recently won the 400m title at the Asian Games this past week.
Haroun would have provided stiff competition for Thebe as well given his excellent form in the Diamond League this season. If Thebe wins the final he will become the fourth Motswana to win a Diamond League title after Amantle Montsho, Nijel Amos and Makwala.