Former African champion to return to training next month
Botswana 400m star Isaac Makwala is getting ever closer to regaining full fitness after responding well to treatment for his hamstring injury. The 2017 IAAF Diamond League (400m) winner suffered a hamstring tendon tear in Eugene, USA in May during a Diamond League meet.
Numerous reports had suggested that Makwala was likely to be out of action for more than six months. As a result of the injury Makwala missed the 2018 African Championships in Athletics, which would have given him a chance to challenge for the 400m title which he lost out to his fellow countryman Baboloki Thebe in 2016.
He also missed out on a chance to compete and defend his title in the 2018 IAAF Diamond League 400m final last month, Makwala had previously been one of the top seven performers and had qualified for the final but the injury robbed him of that opportunity.
Makwala appears to be ahead of schedule in terms of his recovery. He informed Gazette Sport that his recovery process has been successful. “My recovery is going well, I have responded well to the process. I will return to full training next month with an aim to be fully prepared for next year,” Makwala stated.
Did early staging of Commonwealth Games affect Botswana’s stars?
Botswana’s prime track athletes suffered numerous injuries midway through the 2018 season, the odd timing of the injuries prevented them from major events in the athletics calendar. Many believe that the staging of the 2018 Commonwealth Games earlier in the year compared to the usual practice of staging the tournament in July/August affected the athletes as they had to participate in a major tournament in a short space of time.
Normally athletes compete in single races earlier in the year, especially in the Diamond League but the Commonwealth Games require athletes to compete in two to three races in consecutive days, such a demanding schedule early in the year can be hard to handle.
Makwala, Thebe and Nijel Amos suffered injuries and somewhat of a burn out during and after the Commonwealth Games. Amos’ calf injury, which he suffered earlier this year, prevented him from participating in many Diamond League editions and he did not accumulate enough points to participate in the 800m Diamond League final last month. This prevented Amos from defending his title.
On the subject of the early staging of the Commonwealth Games, Makwala informed this publication that Australian held Commonwealth tournaments usually take place earlier than usual, he cited the 2006 Games held in Melbourne which were staged in March. He also acknowledged that the change of schedule may have altered athletes’ preparations.
“We had to prepare a lot quicker than usual, we changed our training programs to fit the schedule of the tournament, it affected us but we had to make sure we were at our best for the tournament despite the Games staring a lot quicker than we are used to,” Makwala concluded.