- Beats America’s Vernon Norwood (45.05), SA’s Zakhithi Nene (45.17) and compatriot idols Isaac Makwala and Anthony Pesela to become the first of the best in the world
Botswana’s most promising 400m track runner, Collen Kebinatshipi, produced sterling performance at the recent Fanny Blankers-Koen (FBK) Games in Hengelo, the Netherlands where he outshone the world’s biggest names in athletics.
Kebinatshipi won the 400m race with a convincing 45.01 seconds, beating America’s star Vernon Norwood (45.05) and Zakhithi Nene (45.17) of South Africa who finished second and third respectively.
He also outshone his fellow countrymen Isaac Makwala and Anthony Pesela, who finished 6th and 7th, which was not enough to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary in August.
The fastest junior athlete in the world
Kebinatshipi’s performance came after he clocked a massive 44.91 at the recent Africa Junior Championships held in Zambia, which confirmed his place at the highly-anticipated Budapest Games.
He is currently the fastest junior athlete in the world with a time of 44.91 seconds.
In an exclusive interview with Gazette Sports, Kebinatshipi attributed his impressive performance to hard work and fortitude developed in training.
Settling in the senior category
“I am happy with the progress that I have made so far, thanks to the hard work that I have been putting into training,” he said.
“The times I am clocking are so convincing and I am settling very well into the senior category, which motivates me to do well.
“I am now preparing for the World Championships, which calls for more work in training. My intention is to become more competitive against the best in the world. I am not under any pressure but I need to have the confidence to do well and prove myself.
Salutes Isaac Makwala
“I always feel good and motivated to compete against people that I look up to such as Isaac Makwala, Leungo Scotch and Bayapo Ndori.”
Kebinatshipi became the fourth Motswana athlete to qualify for the 2023 World Championships and joins the rather short list of Ndori, Scotch and Letsile Tebogo.
He recently dominated the national championships, winning the title ahead of prominent figures who competed on the day.
Eager for more competitive events
The 19-year-old Jwaneng Athletics Club athlete told Gazette Sports that there is a need to participate and compete in more competitive events as a build-up to the World Championships.
“I am looking forward to making my debut at the World Championships because that’s where my readiness to conquer the world will be tested,” he said.
“I wish to compete in all international preparatory events to help me adapt well and fully into a more competitive set-up. I also wish to compete in the Diamond League as well.”