Team Botswana inspires Australian boy

18th April 2018
INSPIRATION: Team Botswana have inspired Kyal Source:The Midweek Sun

An incredible performance by the Botswana team final track race at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has left an everlasting impression on a local boy, himself dreaming of one day running for gold and glory at the Games.

Australian boy, Kyal Sorensen who is 6 years old and from Nerang on the Gold Coast, was track-side at the main stadium for the thrilling final of the 4X400 metre race, which saw Botswana come from behind to take the gold medal win in spectacular fashion, overtaking the Jamaican and Bahamian teams in the last leg. Cheering on the runners as the passed for each lap of the track, Kyal was jumping at the chance to see world-class runners up close for the first time. “Seeing the runners going so fast was great, they were as fast as cheetahs,” Kyal said when he looked back at photos from the race. “My father made sure we were up close to the athletes and being there to see it was incredible,” he added.

Kyal is an aspiring footballer and runner who has already competed in three races at his school on the Gold Coast, taking home a podium finish in each race including two first-place runs in the 60-metre sprint and a -place finish in his cross-country distance race last year. The performance at this Games by the Botswana athletes has been a consistent crowd favourite, and at no time was this more prominent than during and after the 4X400m relay race. In a display of grace and professionalism, team runners Leaname Maotoanong, Baboloki Thebe, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Isaac Makwala took to the track to share their victory with the spectators, Nkobolo stopping to meet with Kyal and his father Luke for a photograph.

“Meeting the Botswana runner (Nkobolo) is something I will remember forever, and one day I just want to be like them and run just as fast,” Kyal said of his chance meeting. The spectacle of the running events and the competitive flair of the athletes had a significant impact on a lot of the Australian spectators, especially on children like Kyal who said, “when you see the runners go past it just makes you want to be out there on that track and to be winning the race.” Kyal’s father Luke was proud of his son showing such ambition and said, “it’s so great to see those athletes from Botswana and Bahamas and all over the world take such an interest in the kids here.”

Taking photos from the stands to capture the moment, Luke shared the experience with his son and hopes to make a special photo album for him to remember the Games. “These incredible runners from Botswana are some of the fastest in the world and during their great moment of winning the gold medal they also stop to share their spirit and celebration with the youngest fans and spectators, which is something all people in Botswana should be extremely proud of,” said Luke after the event. The Gold Coast father and son shared their gratitude with Luke adding, “my son and I meeting Onkabetse Nkobolo was one of the biggest highlights for us at the 2018 Games and we just want to say thank you to him and his fellow team mates for being so friendly, they will always be true champions to us.”

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