Botswana athletics Coach Justice Dipeba has commended the duo of Baboloki Thebe and Isaac Makwala for their performances at the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne, France on Thursday. Thebe and Makwala finished in position two and three respectively in the 400m race against the world’s best runners among them three Americans. The duo only came behind the Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk who set a new diamond league record with a 43.62 seconds time. Thebe and Makwala recorded 44.02 and 44.08 seconds respectively. They did not only finish in promising position but also attained some new records. Thebe, who has been on fire since coming back from injury, recorded a new personal best of 44.02 from his previous time of 44.99 seconds during his last diamond league meet in Stockholm, Sweden. With 44.08 seconds Makwala, on the other hand, attained his season best time. According to coach Dipeba, the duo ran very well. “That was a very good race and the local guys did very well. They did exactly what we told them to go and do when they get there,” he said.
Dipeba said the performance showed that there is a great improvement in the times of the two athletes. The coach is grateful that the improvement comes at the right time ahead of the IAAF World Championships that are only a few weeks away. The two athletes have qualified for the world championships and Batswana’s hopes are pinned on them to bring back silverware at the games. Asked whether he thinks the duo will perform well at the World Championship Dipeba said he has got no doubt about it given the current improvement in their times in recent races. “Baboloki is a very dedicated and capable athlete; you can even tell this from his continued time improvement. I believe that he can still break his personal best time if he continues competing. He is a strong young man and there is room for improvement for him,” said Dipeba.
As for Makwala, the coach said the athlete has always been a strong progressive runner who is also capable of doing well. A few weeks ago Dipeba told this publication that Makwala was improving and his words have proven true. As a result, the coach believes that with the continued competition Makwala would go back to his glory days. “If you look at him right now he is performing far better than he was doing last year. This is very promising ahead of the world championships,” said Dipeba. Dipeba has always been of the view that local athletes should be given more competition time so that they can improve on their times. He said the athletes should be competing to better their time before the World Championships. The coach is optimistic that they will do well at the competitions. A keen eye will be on the 4x400m men’s relay team which the two are part of. The team recently scooped a silver medal at the IAAF World Relay championships at Bahamas in April 2017.