4*400m: Botswana’s Olympic medal prospect

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 10 May 2016   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang
Coach Justice Dipeba Coach Justice Dipeba

Botswana national athletics Coach Justice Dipeba is in a mission to build a formidable team for the 4*400m relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He is looking to put up a team that will bring home a medal from the Olympic Games running from 5-21 August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is Batswana’s hopes to get a second Olympic medal following Nigel Amos’ silver medal in 2012. The coach says the preparations are going on very well and he is currently trying to find the strongest combination for the team. Last week Dipeba had an opportunity to try out some of his athletes at the IAAF Samsung Diamond League in Doha. Botswana relay team was lucky to get an invite to the prestigious competition. The team did not disappoint as they finished in position one ahead of Japan. The relay team which was made up of Nigel Amos, Leaname Maotoanong, Baboloki Thebe and Zachariah Kamberuka recorded time of 3:02.29 to emerge victorious. The coach is very happy with the way the team performed, saying “the boys put up a very good performance and I am happy with it. 

Nigel Amos, Leaname Maotoanong, Baboloki Thebe, Zachariah Kamberuka, Isaac Makwala, Karabo Sibanda and Onkabetse Nkobolo are all vying to be included in the team. At the Doha Diamond league, Dipeba brought in a new member to the team (Thebe) to try combinations. Thebe started the relay while Amos took the baton second. This was unlike most times as Amos is known to be a finisher. The coach explained that this was because he wanted two fast starters. “After seeing what the competition was capable of doing I changed the line up at the eleventh hour. I wanted to have fast people at the start to capitalise from the start,” said Dipeba. He will keep on trying different combinations to find the perfect team to take to Rio. The coach is hopeful that his team will continue to be invited to competitions of this calibre. “These competitions provide us with an opportunity to prepare well for the Olympics. I am also looking at throwing in Karabo Sibanda into the relay to see how he will do as well,” said Dipeba.

He praised the team for the performance it displayed in Doha. He said the time the team attained even without the strong runners like Makwala and Nkobolo is remarkable. He is confident that the team will continue to do well even at the Olympics to make Batswana happy. Dipeba, however, said they will need more invites to top competitions around the world to get the team in shape. He is keeping his fingers crossed that his team get another invite for another Diamond League appearance. The next meet of the Diamond League will be on 14 May 2016 at Shanghai. Meanwhile Makwala did not have a very good start in Doha, finishing 6th at the end. However, his coach is confident that he will turn thing around as the competition goes on. Makwala was ranked among the top five athletes in the world in 400m last year following a good performance in the diamond league.