With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games left with just less than a week to begin, locals’ hopes for medals are high. They want nothing else but a good performance at the Olympics – meaning one medal or more is what matters. The country has arguably sent a very strong and capable team to this year’s Rio Olympic Games. Their commitment and recent performance says it all. This time the country sent a 13 member team compared to the four-member team four years ago. However even though the number tripled, quality was not compromised as Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) made sure that only the best of the best were taken to Rio. The question now remains – who will win medals? Even though a target has not been set for the team, the BNOC has charged them to surpass the last edition achievement. From the 2012 London edition Botswana managed only one medal through Nijel Amos and as it is the team is expected to bring two or more. This can easily be achieved. The team comprise of strong and promising athletes, both seasoned and upcoming ones.
One such promising and upcoming athlete is Baboloki Thebe. Given the time Thebe will achieve a lot in the athletics arena. This young man is one of the medal prospects for Botswana at the Rio Olympics. Thebe is just 19 years old and has already proved that he has what it takes to be a champion. He is already the 400m Africa senior champion. He is rated number three in the world in the senior category and number one in the juniors. Following his misfortune at the just ended World Junior Championships, where he was disqualified for a lane offence, this is his big moment to grab a medal at the world stage. With a personal best (PB) time of 44,22s he will be looking to set a new record.
4*400 relay team
Another medal for Botswana might come from the 4*400m relay team. The team has been doing very well in the past and in recent times. The team made an appearance at the Doha Diamond league meet where it got a gold medal. The team is the reigning African champions and even their coach Justice Dipeba has given them a thumps up to come back with a medal.
If all goes according to plan Nijel Amos who will rather be under immense pressure will also get a medal for this country. Amos has not been doing very well recently particularly at the diamond league. Since the start of the competition, the 800m diamond league champion has on done well. However, his coach has always said the diamond league is not their target but the Olympics. The coach said they were using the league only as the preparatory games for the Olympics. Going by this, it means he has been on a strategic retreat and possibly working on reducing pressure on himself while working on his weaknesses. As much as pressure can work against an athlete, the pressure of Amos having to reproduce and maybe surpass last edition’s performance may work for him. This is not only the expectation of Batswana but his as well. He knows very well that he has to work hard to win a medal and this will work for him.
Another medal prospect would be Isaac Makwala who has been doing satisfactorily at the diamond league. He is currently at position three and can live to the challenge. Makwala knows exactly that this might be his last chance to get a medal from the Olympics and he will work hard to achieve his dream. There are always surprises that can be pulled. The team is made up of strong athletes and they will be all looking to get a medal from the Olympic. Athletes like Karabo Sibanda, Gavin Bogopa, Lydia Jele have what it takes to deliver for Botswana. They have all proved that they are capable of flying the blue, black and white flag high.