Isaac Makwala makes us all proud

16th April 2018



Local track and field sensation Isaac Makwala has finally reached his potential after winning the 400m final at the ongoing 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. The local runner who attained international celebrity status at the 2017 IAAF World Champions has united the nation once again. Badman, as Makwala is affectionately known, ran a brilliant 44.35 sec with his compatriot Baboloki Thebe coming close behind with an impressive 45.09. Since running a controversial 200m solo race at the World Championships in London following an exclusion from a preliminary (200m) event in London, Makwala seems to have found a renewed purpose in his career. The Tutume native will now be elevated to cult status in Botswana.

This will come with new levels of fame and responsibilities for the taciturn athlete. After his ordeal at the recent World Championships, former President Ian Khama promised to build a stadium facility in Tutume and name it after the now famous runner. Khama even visited Makwala’s parents who live in Tutume. With President Khama now gone, it will remain to be seen whether government will proceed and build the Isaac Makwala Sports Complex. The runner’s recent exploits at the Commonwealth Games will be a huge boost in this regard. There is no doubt that Makwala will now be huge inspiration to the whole nation. After his stellar performance, the runner is expected to inspire the nation’s youth to get into sports. Moreover, Makwala’s first place is likely to come as a major morale boost for his teammates at the ongoing games.

The 4x400m relay team will receive a major shot in the arm with the presence of both Makwala and Thebe. The likes of Onkabetse Nkobolo and Karabo Sibanda who are not having such a great time at the games will have renewed hope of returning home with a medal given Makwala and Thebe’s form. Women’s 400m runners Amantle Montsho and Christine Botlogetswe will also gain inspiration from Makwala towards their own (400m) final. The Botswana NationalOlympic Committee have set an eight-medal target and so far, they have two in the bag – Gold and Silver. Makwala’s brilliant win will see Botswana’s return to track and field big leagues after an almost four-year medal drought. The last time Botswana won a major medal was at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland when Nijel Amos (800m) brought home silver.

However, the 2014 Commonwealth Games saw local track and field taking a major blow when Montsho failed a doping test and attracted international headlines. Since then Team Botswana failed to bring home a medal from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2017 IAAF World Championship. While the popular Samsung Diamond league is a brilliant forum for athletes to earn much-needed income, it is the World Championship and the Olympics that really matter. Nevertheless, the two medals from both Makwala and Thebe are a welcome development to the whole nation. It is our hope that the Tuesday feat goes on to inspire further greatness from the rest of the athletes making up Team Botswana in Australia, and even for the future sporting events.

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