Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Junior National Team has imitated their seniors’ recent exceptional performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by winning big at the just ended World Under 20 Championships held in Nairobi, Kenya. Botswana’s athletics history was re written in the history books after it won its inaugural gold medals in 100m, 400m and 4x400ms at the World U20 Championships since the only gold that the country has ever won through Nijel Amos at 2012 World Junior Championships held in Barcelona, Spain.
The new kid on the block, Letsile Tebogo dominated the 100m race in all rounds to win a gold in his first individual international stage competition following his appearance at the 2021 World Relays held in Poland four months ago. Tebogo arrived in Nairobi with a 100m personal best (PB) and a National Record (NR) of 10.14 seconds, he clocked in February at the National championships and he smashed it again last week to register a new PB and NR of 10.11 seconds.
He continued with his fine form and won a silver medal in 200m with a time of 20.38. Anthony Pesela proved his worth and why he was part of the men’s 4x400m relay team that won bronze at the Olympics by winning another gold for Botswana at the championships in 400m with an unbelievable time. The Etsha 6 native’s dazzling performance produced a SB of 44.58 seconds also a Championship Record (CR) on his first ever individual appearance at the world stage.
In an interview with Gazette Sport upon the team’s arrival in the country on Tuesday, Tebogo said he is happy with his achievements at the world stage especially on his debut which he believes that he will be able to carry forth the form and momentum.
“I am so happy that I have made my country proud with the performance that I put at the championships, representing the country always comes with emotions and happiness at the same time. I am very honoured to be referred to as the world junior champion amongst the best athletes in the world. My intention was to just do my best more so that Botswana is not known to be good on short sprints but defied the odds and we have made a statement on the one especially after winning a gold and a silver medal at the big games,” he said.
He however said he is a bit disappointed that he did not win a gold in a race that he considers his favourite, 200m and intends to work on improving his tactics in 200m. “ I like 200m and I want to specialise in 200m simply because it is my favourite and I believe that my strength is in this category, yes I am happy with my 100m gold but I will be coming with all guns blazing in 200m in the next competitions since my aim is to qualify for the World Championships next year,” . Tebogo said.
On his part Pesela said he is more than happy to have won a medal at the World Championships especially after gaining a much needed experience at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which is a true reflection of growth.
“Being at the Olympics inspired and motivated me to do well in these championships, I have learned a lot from my seniors and my target now is to improve my personal best to a time that will earn me a diamond league entry whenever the time is right. I have already qualified for the world championships next year in United States of America and it means hard work from now and I am up for the challenge,” Pesela explained.
He joined Isaac Makwala and Nijel Amos as individual athletes who have already qualified for the World Championships slated for Oregon, USA next year.
The Junior team Coach, Chilume Ntswarang said they are also happy with the team’s performance, but they are of the view that they could have qualified a bigger team if it was not for Covid-19 setbacks. “Botswana is gifted in track events and we could produce more athletes who can do well in the international stage. Development is key and school sport must return as soon as possible because that’s where we discover talent,” he concluded.