Botswana 400m star Isaac Makwala has switched his focus to the Wanda Diamond League after pulling out of contention ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Makwala is aiming to win his second Diamond League title and he has prioritised the competition as he approaches full retirement. It appears the Diamond League final on September 7 will be his last major tournament winning a trophy in his swansong race would be fitting for a serial winner of his calibre.
Makwala is currently joint third in the 400m Diamond League standings he has accumulated 14points so far. He is behind Kirani James (23 points) and Vernon Norwood (17 points) . The former 400m African champion is joint third with Matthew Hudson-Smith (also on 14 points) .
This season was his most testing in the Diamond League. He finished fifth in Birmingham, seventh in Eugene and eighth in Rome. However he managed to recover at the right time as he finished second in Oslo, Norway. The performance in Norway helped him jump up the rankings from sixth to joint third in the standings. He is in line to feature in the final if he maintains his spot in the top nine.
Last week the Botswana National Olympic Committee announced Makwala’s decision to pull out of the Commonwealth Games and his retirement from Team Botswana. His retirement from the national team comes at a time when he has already cemented his legacy as an all time great.
“Association (CGA) Botswana through the Botswana Team Management led by the Chef De Mission Ms. Yarona Sharp has received nitification from one of our elite athletes. Mr. Isaac Makwala of his decision to retire from the Botswana National Team and subsequent wish to be withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games camp in Birmingham. This shall allow the athlete to focus on competing in the upcoming Diamond League competitions which he has cited as being his focal point given the financial benefit and improvement to his general welfare.” the statement from BNOC reads.
BNOC’s statement further stated that Following the completion of relevant consultations with stakeholders the request has been accepted. We would therefore like to inform the nation that Mr. Makwala has been released from the Commonwealth Games Birmingham camp and as a consequence will not be participating in any capacity as an individual or as a part of the relay team at the games.