Following her two-year suspension from athletics for failing a drugs test at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Amantle Montsho’s return to the sport is gathering momentum.
This week, the Athletics Commission launched the ‘Support Amantle Montsho Campaign’ in a bid to help the former 400m World Champion prepare for upcoming competitions.
The Maun born runner recently qualified for this year’s World Championships, which will be held in London in August and where Montsho will be looking to retain the title she won so spectacularly back in 2011.
The campaign will raise funds to help Montsho, who at 34 is entering the twilight years of a glittering career, pay for better training facilities and preparations for the championships.
The man who came up with the initiative, Botswana National Olympic Committee Vice-President, Colonel Botsang Tshenyego, explained it was meant to honour the athlete who put Botswana on the athletics map by becoming the country’s first World Champion.
Tshenyego admitted that time was not on Montsho’s side but insisted that she still has an important role to play in athletics.
“We want her to continue in sports under a different role either being coach, sports ambassador or sports administrator. She will give inspiration to young athletes, especially girls. We cannot lose an athlete of such calibre – she is a diamond. The initiative is meant to raise funds for competitions and the transition, which is training her in areas of her choice,” he said.
Dissecting the campaign further, Tshenyego went on to say, “This is a pilot project to test the response – the aim is to broaden it to more athletes and inspire other sports codes.”
Meanwhile, Montsho told Voice Sport that she is not planning to compete on the track for much longer, adding that she will ‘retire happy’ should she win a medal at the upcoming World Championships.
She said this initiative motivates her as it shows Batswana believe she can still run at the highest level.
“A top three finish will be an achievement for me looking at my level of fitness, but I will still be happy to reach the event’s final. It is not going to be easy but I have to work hard to make this a reality. After getting a medal I retire. I am very grateful for the support I get from Batswana and athletics family,” concluded the golden girl of Botswana athletics brightly.