Montsho nails comeback drill
It was hardly a heroine’s welcome when former Commonwealth and World 400m champion Amantle Montsho staged her much-anticipated comeback at the Lobatse Sports complex.
At 33, Montsho remains a physical and competitive specimen. She managed a decent third position clocking a 54.49seconds behind rising track stars Lydia Jele who garnered position one (52.86) and Christine Botlogetswe in second place (53.04).
Nevertheless, Montsho and her world class coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe did not set out to win her first race after 24 months of absence. During the 400m events that took place before a handful of spectators at Lobatse, Montsho who commands a 49.33 personal best (400m) did not seem to break a sweat or struggle against some of the country’s best athletes.
Despite position three, Montsho’s performance left her coach beaming with excitement. “Amantle exceeded my expectations considering that she has been out of action for such a long time. He performance today showed me that she is in good condition. When I started working with her we focused on endurance and strength. This shows that she has both qualities as she maintained her pace until the end of the race,” Otsetswe said in an interview during the BAA track and field event.
“This means I will now work on her pace and strength endurance and then speed, I believe she will be back to her best.” Otsetswe said he was targeting the BAA national championships schedwled for May this year to establish whether Montsho is ready for the August World championships billed for London.
The world class coach who masterminded Nijel Amos’ Olympic silver medals said he was taking to building up Montsho to be on par with other elite athletes under his wing.
“Amantle’s performance today shows me that she is still an elite athlete and among the best in the country”. Moreover, Otsetswe said the former 400m-world champion remains an inspiration to younger athletes in the country. “The fact that some of these athletes were racing against Montsho is motivation on its own. What I like about Montsho is that she is humble and does not act like a celebrity around other athletes”.
Speaking after her first race since the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the usually quiet athlete showed that she remains a woman of few words. “My aim was not to compete for position but to rather work on endurance. I am happy with my performance so I will now focus on speed,” said the former Commonwealth and World champion.
The race meeting also saw other elite athletes recording impressive times.
The race meeting also featured diminutive Olympian middle distance runner Boitumelo Masilo who recorded 1:54.7sec in 800m. Meanwhile some of Botswana’s fastest athletes, Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda have already qualified for the London World championships.
Otsetswe expressed satisfaction with the recent performance of the pair that currently holds the fastest time in Africa (400m).