Botswana want to become a relay powerhouse
Botswana athletics team coach Justice Dipeba believes the country’s youth development program could spark a golden future.
Seven of Botswana’s 4x400m relay squad for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games have personal bests under 45.7 seconds, led by Isaac Makwala (PB 43.72), who has gold medal ambitions in the individual men's 400m.
A centre of excellence program for school-aged athletes has contributed to Botswana's improvement, and gold in the 4x400m could herald the rise of a new super power in world athletics.
"We are able to identify athletes at school level and provide them with access to coaching and competition in one centre, and then take them through the youth and junior ranks," said Dipeba.
One Botswanan with eyes only on the 4x400m relay is Leaname Maotoanong, who won the 400m at a Commonwealth Games warm-up meet in Brisbane on 28 March.
The 26-year-old missed out on an individual 400m spot at GC2018 (Botswana selected Makwala, Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda) and is now aiming to make the final four for the relay.
"We came here for gold," said Maotoanong.
"When you have someone like Makwala in the team, it motivates us. When we see him run good times, it's inspiring."
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This article was produced by Games News Service.