Botswana’s 400m super star Isaac Makwala and the men’s 4x400 m relay team have been nominated for the 2019 Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 Regional Sports Awards. The gala awards ceremony will take place in Windhoek, Namibia on May 25, 2019.
The nominees of the annual awards, which are on their fourth year running, were announced this week with Botswana bagging two nominations courtesy of athletics.
Makwala – the 400m ace – made it to the sportsman of the year shortlist though he had a very quiet season due to an injury. His major accomplishment is the double gold he won during the Commonwealth Games in Australia in the 400m as well as in the 4x400m relays.
Makwala’s gold during the Commonwealth was his first global individual title where he clocked an impressive 44.55 seconds in the track. Though he started well in the Diamond League series last year accumulating 13 points and qualifying for the finals, his form was short lived as he was sidelined by the injury for the remainder of the season, which denied the 33 year old sprinter a chance to defend his Diamond League title and to compete at the Africa Championships. Makwala will be battle for the award against martial artist Wilfred Mathaya of Zimbabwe and South African swimming sensation Chad Le Clos.
The 4x400m men’s relay team secured the nomination in the sports team of the year award against Banyana Banyana and Malawi senior netball team.
Comprising of Makwala, Leaname Maotoanong, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Baboloki Thebe, the team scooped gold at the Commonwealth Games last year with an impressive time of 3:01.78 seconds. However it seems like it is going to be a tough battle since Banyana Banyana – South Africa’s female soccer national team – performed impressively well by qualifying for the Africa Women’s Nations Cup and the World Cup. On the other hand, the Malawian netball team booked a spot at the 2019 INF World Cup; a feat which might work well for them.
“It is gratifying to see that there are some organisations that highly value our performance. We must keep on working hard because this shows growth. We are positive we are going to win because the performance displayed by our 4x400m athletes has been second to none. Our ladies team is also coming up so well in the sense that new stars are emerging and this is good for the country,” said Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), spokesman Ipolokeng Ramatshaba.
In the last edition in 2018 Botswana’s own Karabo Sibanda dominated the awards winning both the junior sportsman and sportsperson of the year accolades.