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Thebe targets Diamond League glory

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Defends 400m African title

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Botswana’s 400meters young sensation Baboloki Thebe says his aim is now to qualify for the finals of this season’s IAAF Diamond League finals after he managed to defend his African title at the just ended Africa Athletics Senior Championship held in Nigeria.
Despite a rocky start into season as result of injuries, the youngster whose been deemed as one of the future greats of the 400m race has brushed aside his early season miseries and is making 2018 a year to remember. He was part of the 4x400m relay team that won Gold in GoldCoast during Commonwealth games and also won Silver in the individual 400m final at the same competition. On Friday he successfully defeated his African 400m title in Nigeria.
Speaking to reporters at the competition he expressed his delight and said his aim had always been to retain the title going to the games.
“I am happy, because my plan was always to defend my title. I am also happy with my performance,” Thebe told the media. “I think it is not different (from the last African champs), because we ran the same time. The problee here today was the track, which I felt was not good as it was very bumpy, but the competition was more of the same, nothing different.
Asked about his objectives for the season, he said qualifying for the Diamond League final and the upcoming intercontinetal championships was the main priority.
“I still have to run the Diamond league and I have to qualify for the finals and the continental that is my plan at the moment,” he briefly revealed.
With his main competitors Issac Makwala and Olympic Gold medalist Wayde Van Niekeirk currently out due to injuries and expected to return next season ahead of the World Championships, he says his plan is to work hard and pose a major threat for the two runners.
“I am going to work hard for the World Championships. My aim to finish in the top three and for me to do that I have to work very hard. When they come back they will push us and we can also be able to run better times,” continued the double African champion.
“This season was difficult for me because the injuries and then Commonwealth Games changed our training programme, but my coach talked to me to come here and try and defend my title, and when my coach talks to me I listen. He told me believe in myself and started having my confidence back. I think I am now okay,” he ended.
The Africa Senior Athletics Championships came to an end on Sunday with Botswana ladies 4x400m relay team finishing in position 4 with a time of 3.24.16
However, the male relay team failed to finish their race because Nigel Amos suffered an injury.
The result means Botswana come back home with only 4 medals courtesy of Baboloki Thebe and Amos’s golds from 400m and 800m respectively, and a silver medal from Christine Botlogetswe from the ladies 400m.

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