Botswana’s 400m sensation Baboloki Thebe continued to uphold the country’s great performance in middle distance races as he won the Olso IAAF Diamond League meet on Thursday night. Thebe easily cruised to the finish line ahead of the pack clocking 44.95 seconds. The 20-year-old was the only one on the field to clock under the 45 seconds with second placed Matthew Hudson-Smith of Britain managing 45.16 sec. This week’s performance has shown an improvement for the young Thebe who had clocked 45.05 sec in the prior Diamond league meet in Eugene, USA. In the particular race Thebe however gave American Leshawn Merritt a run for his money to finish second. The gradually improving performance has brought excitement to Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), with the association spokesperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba saying it is good for the athlete as he is growing in strength. Thebe’s win has boosted him in the Diamond League as he collected eight points for finishing first. He previously collected seven points after finishing second at the Eugene meet. Thebe has missed the opening of the league at Doha where Karabo Sibanda flew the country’s flag to finish in second position.
Ramatshaba said the continued performance improvement places the country in a good position to do well at the coming London World Championships in August. He said with an improved performance of the athletes, the country stands a chance of winning medals at the championships. He also said the current results show that the athlete himself is growing with each race. Thebe, who is the two times African 400m Champion, seems to be recovering very well from the injury that hit him in 2016. He was side-lined for some months following a reoccurring knee injury at the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, ever in his come back the 20-year-old has shown great determination starting with a qualification for the 2017 World championships. He was also part of the team that represented the country at the IAAF World relays championships where Botswana brought home a silver medal. Though he did no look not 100 per cent fit, his contribution was great to the team. Like Ramatshaba said this is a great thing for him and the 4*400m men’s team. Botswana’s 4*400m team has always proven to be a force to reckon with and having fully fit athletes like Thebe and Sibanda will improve its chances of winning. Ramatshaba is confident that Thebe can grow to dominate 400m at world level. “Amantle Montsho did it in the past and he can also do it. He is still young and has a lot of time ahead of him; so with no doubt I have confidence that one day he will get the championship,” said Ramatshaba.