18-year-old Otshegeditse Ramankhi is emerging as a strong future prospect in long distance races, following a string of outstanding performances in recent events. Running bare-footed, he has age on his side to perfect his game. OTHUSITSE TLHOBOGANG reports.
He is a little known cross country runner but Otshegeditse Ramankhi is already making strides towards becoming a great athlete. The Bobonong Junior Secondary School student has just booked himself a ticket to compete at the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) National Cross Country Championship to be held next weekend in Gaborone.
Last week the 18-year-old Ramankhi clocked 28 minutes 50 seconds to scoop position one in the 8km junior cross country race. This followed another sterling performance at the Mmadinare Marathon where he finished second. The youngster had also finished third in the PPC King of the Hill race last year. The impressive performance the youngster has been displaying earned him a place in the national event with will be used as qualifiers for the Southern African Region (SAR) Cross Country Championships.
Ramankhi, who runs barefooted, reminds one of a legend cross country runner Kaelo Mosalagae. Mosalagae – nicknamed ‘the bare footed one’ – got the name because of his style of running without shoes. Because of his determination and running style many believe that the young Ramankhi could grow to become a dominant force in the marathons.
His coach Phethu Mabelebele told The Patriot on Sunday in an interview that the young boy is a determined and disciplined athlete. Mabelebele said Ramankhi’s love for running is so much that he will cry whenever he misses a race. “He loves running so much that sometimes when there is no money to transport them he would strive to transport himself to the event,” said the coach.
The coach also pointed his humble character as one of the elements that will help him excel in his sporting career. Ramankhi is said to be a polite student who follow training programmes well at all times. This, according to the coach, is why the boy continues to shine in the races he competes in. “I have been coaching him for four years now and every year he shows great growth,” he said.
BAA spokesperson, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, also sees a great potential in the young man. Ramatshaba said after seeing Ramankhi compete a number of times he has realised that he is a very good athlete that will turn out as a great runner.
Ramatshaba and Mabelebele have tipped Ramankhi to win this year’s national cross country in the junior men category. The coach said without any injury Ramankhi would win the race. “I see position one from him this year but if not it will be position 2. The way he is doing right now he is destined to go places and even end up participating outside Botswana,” acclaimed the coach.
Mabelebele, whoever, decried lack of resources, saying it hinders the progress of the athlete. He said should resources be available Ramankhi and other athletes at Bobonong CJSS would be performing extraordinarily well by now. The athletes from Bobonong CJSS have consistently performed well in the cross country championships locally with the likes of Mosa Badubi being the shining examples.
Badubi has always dominated the local cross country championships and last year she was supposed to represent the country at the World Cross Country Championships. This year there will be four athletes from Bobonong CJSS at the national cross country, including Badubi.