- Makwala aiming for first Commonwealth Games gold medal
- Baboloki Thebe also a strong contender in the final
- Thebe, Makwala also chasing Games record set in 2014
Isaac Makwala has qualified for the men’s 400m final at the ongoing Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Makwala won one of Monday’s semifinal heats with an improved record of 45:00 to stand a chance of walking away with a gold medal in the final.
He had also got position 1 in the first round heats on Sunday morning prior to breezing through the semifinals. The 400m IAAF Diamond League champion is the overwhelming favourite to win the gold medal and has been used as the star attraction for the competition.
Makwala, who is aiming for his first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal, had planned to compete in both the 200m and 400m races but elected to concentrate on the latter given the clash of schedules that might have required him to run two different categories on the same day.
The absence of the likes of Wayde Van Nierkek has made Makwala the favourite to win the race but the 400m crown will not just be laid down for him to take home, his countryman Baboloki Thebe has also qualified for the final and will be eager to write his name in the history books.
Thebe, the African 400m champion, ran an impressive 45:54 in the semifinals on Monday to reach the final. The youngster has beaten Makwala before in a major final, he stripped Makwala of the African 400m title at the 2016 African Championships in Athletics.
The Botswana duo was also scheduled to face off in last year’s IAAF Diamond League final but an injury ruled Thebe out of contention and Makwala went on to win the title. Thebe is well aware that Makwala has improved immensely since their 2016 duel in Durban, South Africa.
The two sprint kings will also be aiming to break the Commonwealth Games men’s 400m record (44.24) which was set by Grenada’s Kirani James in 2014, a gold medal and a new record would represent an impressive double for either of Botswana’s 400m finalists. The men’s 400m final will take place today (Tuesday) at 13:48 (CAT) on Botswana Television and Supersport.