Athletics remains Botswana’s last hope of attaining its target of two medals at the Tokyo Olympics after boxing, weightlifting and swimming gave it a try and were all knocked out early.
Botswana’s woes in Tokyo began when female boxer Keamogetse Kenosi was eliminated by Karriss Artingestall of Great Britain in Round 32 of the women’s featherweight. The country’s tough run at the Games continued with James Freeman having an early shower after he failed to progress to the semi-finals of the men’s 400m and 200m freestyle heats in swimming.
As if that was not enough, the country suffered yet another blow when Rajab ‘Otukile’ Mohammed became the third local athlete to exit early after losing to Martinez Rivas of Colombia in the men’s flyweight. Weightlifter MaIt is now up to athletics to guideline Moyengwa followed next after she failed to progress to the next round of the women’s 59kg category.
deliver much-needed solace to a nation at the mercy of COVID-19. The athletics team, which is under the tutelage of Justice Dipeba, will begin their assignment with Nigel Amos on Saturday 31 July in the men’s 800m heats. Should he make it in the heats, Amos will then go into the semi-finals on Sunday 1st August before the finals on Wednesday 4 August. Amos is Botswana’s brightest prospect for a medal.
The 400m event will see the duo of Isaac Makwala and Leungo Scotch partaking in the men’s 400m heats on Sunday 1st August. The men’s 400m semi-finals are scheduled for Monday 2 August whereas finals are slated for Thursday 5 August. The trio of Amantle Victor Nkape (formerly known as Amantle Montsho), Christine Botlogetswe and Galefele Moroko will begin their Olympic run on Tuesday 3 August in the women’s 400m heats with the semi-finals scheduled for Wednesday 4 August and the finals for Friday 6 August.
The men’s 4x400m relay team, which is made up of Makwala, Scotch, Baboloki Thebe, Zibani Ngozi, Anthony Pesela and Bayapo Ndori, will hit the track on Friday 6 August in the Round One with finals slated for Saturday 7 August.
“From what I have gathered from the team manager, the preparations are going well in Tokyo,” noted Botswana Athletics Association vice president administration, Oabona Theetso, in an interview. “We will not be pressured by the fact that we are the country’s medal hope. It is important for us to approach the Games calmly.”
BWR SPORTS ATHLETICS PREDICTIONS
Men’s 800m: Amos will make it to the final and win the country’s second Olympic medal. However, it will be another silver as he did in the 2012 London Olympics. That is because even though he went to the Games with a world lead time of 1:42.91 seconds, Amos will face tough competition from Korir Emmanuel Kipkurui of Kenya, if they both make it to the final.
Men’s 400m: Makwala will qualify for the semi-finals. But it will be tough for him to make it to the final, although he made it to the Games as the sixth-ranked athlete in the race in the world this year with a time 44.47 seconds. It is going to be difficult for Botswana to win a medal in this event, which is likely to be dominated by defending champion Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa , Kirani James of the Bahamas and Michael Norman of the USA. Scotch will be eliminated in the heats.
Men’s 200: If Makwala takes part in the event, it is going to be difficult for him to make it through the heat. He went to the Games ranked number 18 in the race with a time of 20.15 seconds. Noah Lyles of the USA is likely to emerge the 200m champion in Tokyo.
Women’s 400m: The duo of Moroko and Botlogetswe will be eliminated in the heats but Amantle will make it to the semi-finals. The country will not win a medal in the women’s 400m race. Shaunae Miller-Uibo is a favourite to win the race.
Men’s 4x400m relay: The quartet will make it to the final but will not win a medal.
OVERALL: One medal from the 800m.