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Botswana’s golden trio continues gold medal chase

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BONGANI MALUNGA

Botswana’s golden athletics trio of Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe and Nijel Amos have set themselves up well in their pursuit of gold in the ongoing IAAF World Championships, the trio has set the world ablaze with their impressive performances in their respective heats and they have staked a claim for podium finishes in their race categories.
Makwala and Thebe were the main attraction in the 400m races as they won their heats and semi finals to advance to what looks set to be the greatest 400m final of all time. Makwala continued his form by making light work of the first round heats on Saturday, he recorded the fastest time of qualifying in the first heats with a record of 44.55 seconds, he also recorded a personal victory as he finally beat long time rival LaShawn Merritt in the first heats.
He repeated his heroics in the semi finals as he recorded yet another scintillating first place spot, finishing the race in 44.30 seconds. Thebe also breezed through the first round heats as he recorded a time of 44.83 seconds, he also impressed in the semi final when he was pitted against Wayde Van Nierkek and multiple former world champion Merritt.
Thebe finished second behind Van Nierkek and outclassed the experienced Merritt who could only look on in envy as the Botswana youngster finished two places ahead of him, this eliminated Merritt from the final and the American sprinter will not contest in the major 400m race for the first time since 2005.
Thebe and Makwala will be up against Van Nierkek and the dangerous Steven Gardiner who were equally impressive in the build up to the final. Amos also won his first round heat comfortably but he faced an even tougher task in the semifinal as he was boxed in and pushed by his opponents in an effort to halt him.
Unlike in Rome earlier this year where the tactic resulted in him falling and finishing eleventh, he overcame the challenge and finished second, booking his place in the final for the first time in his career. Amos is the heavy favourite for the final but he is wary of the threat posed by other athletes in the final.  The men’s 800m final will be held today at 22:35pm while the men’s 400m final will take place at 22;50pm (local time).

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