Onkabetse Nkobolo busted into the athletics scene last year through superlative performances which handed him a spot in the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. Nkobolo announced his arrival by running an impressive 45.36 last year at the 33rd Meeting Madrid IAAF World Challenge. Though this performance did not book him a place at the Olympics, it enabled him to make his maiden appearance at the World Championships in Beijing, China where he was eliminated on the first round. Despite being eliminated at the first round at Beijing, the 23-year-old managed to win a bronze medal for Botswana at the All Africa Games which were held at Congo two weeks after the World Championships.
The Moroka-born 400m athlete is currently based at Ali Centre, Spain where he is preparing for the Olympics under the tutelage of coach Sobles. “Everything is good here in Spain. My training is going well I cannot complain even though there is too much work as compared to last year. This year my coach has included many things in the programme in order for me to be in good shape very soon,” said Nkobolo. ‘Tolly’, as he is affectionately called, has noticeably improved under the mentorship of coach Sobles whom transformed him from 800m to 400m and guided him to qualify for Olympics. “I am very happy to have qualified for Olympics because it is not everyone who has the chance to represent our country at the higher level like Olympics. Having qualified means a lot to me,” Nkobolo pointed out.
Tolly has run two indoor races this year to gauge his level of training and he is happy with the outcome. “Indoor is difficult but I always try my best to set the National and African record on the 500m that I run,” he said. Nkobolo is currently ranked the second best 400m athlete in the country after Isaac Makwala and he is also a trusted member of the men’s 4*400m relay team. His next major national duty will be at the Africa Senior Championships in July in Durban, South Africa. He will run against Makwala and the world champion, South African Wayde van Niekerk.