The final rush

Portia Mlilo
Last Olympics for Makwala and Montsho

After qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Botswana’s most decorated athletes, Isaac Makwala and Amantle Montsho will compete in this event for the last time as they approach retirement.

Makwala qualified for the Olympics for the third time over the weekend in the 400m heats in the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) National Championships.

He clocked 44.65s beating the Olympic standard qualifying time of 44.90s.

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The 35-year-old Tutume born sprinter also qualified for the Olympics in 200m clocking 20.27s at the same event.

Makwala was also part of the 4×4 relay team which recently qualified for the Olympics at the IAAF world relays in Poland, winning a bronze medal.

The relay team comprises of Makwala, Ditiro Nzamani, Leungo Scotch and Boitumelo Masilo.

‘Badman’ as Makwala is affectionately known in athletics, became the 5th in athletics to qualify after Montsho, Nijel Amos, Galefele Moroko, and Christine Botlogetswe.

The final rush
RETIRING: Amantle Montsho

During the 2017 World Championships, Makwala made history running 200m within 20 seconds and 400m within 44 seconds on the same day, clocking 43.92s in the 400m.

Speaking to Voice Sport, Makwala said the intention is to bring home a medal as it will be his last appearance at the Olympics.

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He said this will be his last Olympic competition but not the end of his sporting career as he still wants to defend his Commonwealth 400m title and compete in the World Championships next year.

“I am yet to decide on the individual race to run, between the 400 and the 200m. I want to compete in one individual race and relay and my coach Justice Dipeba will advise accordingly. Dipeba started coaching me in 2013 and my times have improved. He is the best. Most of the remaining competitions are in Europe, so I am still working on my Visa to go there and prepare for the Diamond League and Olympics. It is now cold in our country, so the weather is not suitable for training,” said Makwala.

Meanwhile, Botswana’s only former 400m World Champion, Montsho, has expressed her desire to hang her spikes after competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

She said winning a medal at this event will be the best gift for the country.

The 37-year-old Montsho is currently the Commonwealth defending Champion and the first Motswana to qualify four times for the Olympics.

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“Recently, the 4×4 relay team that I am part of failed to qualify for the Olympics but we still have a chance in the competition that will be held on the 29th of this month in South Africa. There is also Senior Africa Championships which is also a qualifying event,” she added.

When asked about her change of names from Montsho to Victor Nkape, she said she has long done that in 2005.

She said she asked the IAAF not to change her names in competition as it was going to bring confusion to her followers.

“Montsho is the brand so I decided to continue using it in athletics but officially I am using my father’s name Victor Nkape. When I went to compete in the World Relays, people were shocked to see my new names on the team list. Some even called asking if I am married,” she explained.

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