Makwala Returns to the Track as Individual Competitor

  • Says he never said he was retiring from athletics altogether
  • Aims to be in the inaugural Botswana Golden Grand Prix in April
  • BAA welcomes Makwala’s return as a role model extraordinaire


Botswana’s 400m sensation Isaac Makwala has returned to the track no long after announcing his retirement from international athletics following his participation in the 2o22 World Championships in Oregon, USA in July last year.

And the magnificent athlete wants it known that he will be in the highly-anticipated Botswana Golden Grand Prix in April.

Makwala made it clear that he was ending his over 15 years of a successful athletics career where he represented and won medals for Botswana in almost all major world events except for the World Championships.


He started his physical training last month and was spotted at the University of Botswana (UB) training with his coach, Justice Dipeba.

Strong warning

The magnificent athlete competed in the recent Debswana Track and Field Series in Francistown where he took part in the 200m and the 400m races, clocking 20.93 and 46.34 respectively to send a strong warning to his closest local on the home front.

In an interview with Gazette Sports thereafter, Makwala said it felt good to be back on the track after a short break, adding quite remarkably that he never said he had completely retired from athletics.

“I am back where I never left,” he said. “I don’t know why people are so surprised by my return because I have never said I has retired from athletics. What I said was that I was retiring from international athletics which concern national team events.

Not unlike football players

“I am still going to compete individually on continental tour and diamond league events, among others. My retirement is not different from that of football players who always announce their retirement from international events but keep playing for their individual clubs at home.

“I have always made it clear that I provide for my family through athletics and I won’t retire, especially that I still feel energetic and fit to compete. I want people to understand this and get it right so that they are not confused when they see me competing abroad.”

The 37-years old track record-breaking athlete has medals from the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, World Relays, the Diamond League and the Africa Championships.

He confirmed that he will be competing in the highly-anticipated Botswana Golden Grand Prix that is slated for the National Stadium in Gaborone on 29 April alongside other big-name athletes from around the world.

“I am currently preparing myself to compete against the best in the world this April in Gaborone,” he emphasised. “The event will be my first competitive international event. I will use it to gauge my performance and plot my next move because my wish is to compete in this year’s Diamond League and other paying races across the world.”

Role model

Meanwhile, BAA Vice President Administration Oabona Theetso has told this publication that they are excited that Makwala is returning because the outstanding runner serves as a role model for young athletes that BAA has on its team.

“These young athletes look up to Makwala and see him as an inspiration,” he said. “His presence plays a big part in the progress of the team. The likes of Bayapo Ndori, Zibani Ngozi, Anthony Pesela and Collen Kebinatshipi are currently doing well and we believe Makwala will push them to do their best.”