Nineteen-year-old Baboloki Thebe produced a stunning performance at the weekend to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics in the 400m category at the Private Tertiary Institution Association championships. Thebe’s magnificent 45:23 seconds time did not only see him qualify but also beat Botswana and Africa’s best Isaac Makwala and Karabo Sibanda in the process.
Makwala, who is African Champion in the men’s 400m category, could only see Thebe’s heels finishing second with Sibanda coming third. Thebe’s qualification came as a surprise to many as the young runner normally specialises in 100m and 200m. Thebe made his presence in athletics world known during the 2014 Africa Youth Games when he won a gold medal in 200m.
Since the Africa Youth Games he has been working very hard to maintain his performance. The hard work is finally paying off, as he is now diversifying to other categories. His 400m Olympic qualification has been welcome by athletics administrators who feel the time has come for local athletes to take part in more than one event. Even though he is already on the way to Rio, hopes are still high that he would also qualify for the 200m race as well.