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THREE WAY TUSSLE…Thebe chases Van Niekerk and Merrit

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The athletics world was robbed during the 2016 Rio Olympic games when rising star Baboloki Thebe (400m) sustained an injury during the international showpiece that saw South African runner Wayde Van Niekerk winning a gold medal in the category. However, this time around the stage is set for a fit Thebe to finally come face to face with the raw pace of Van Niekerk and American LaShawn Merrit in Lausanne, Switzerland tomorrow (Thursday).

The athletics world is expected to stand still and savour the moment during the mouth watering 400m blockbusters, which also features Vernon Norwood (USA), Tony McQuay (USA), Michael Cherry (USA) and Machel Cedenio (Trinidad). However, betting house bookies will undoubtedly favour the indomitable South African who is at the peak of his powers. The 400m athlete currently holds both the world and Olympic championship.

The 24 year old who stands at 1.83m commands a blistering Personal Best (PB) of 43.03 sec while American powerhouse LaShawn Merrit commands a PB of 43.65sec. Nevertheless, the talented and youngest of the bunch Baboloki holds a personal best 44.22 sec and enters the race as an unknown entity with a lot to prove.

Mogomotsi Otsetswe’s protege knows this will be his time to shine and beating the likes of Van Neikerk and Merrit will make him a powerhouse in 400m. Having cleaned up in Africa along with compatriot Karabo Sibanda, Thebe has been touted as a prospect and rising star in 400m. However nagging injuries have haunted the Maun native, having forced him to undergo surgery.

The 20 year old is not short of confidence having recently finished on the podium during the IAAF Diamond league in Eugene, USA and making a statement by taking his maiden win in Oslo, Norway. In an interview this week former 800m runner Glody Dube said Thebe will be coming into the race as a relative unknown compared to his superstar rivals.

“He will be coming into the race with no pressure. His rivals have pressure because they come to the race to defend their reputations.” Dube believes the local runner has what it takes to beat the big names in the sport, adding that PB times of the star athletes does not mean a lot coming into the Thursday clash. Even though, Thebe is not accompanied by coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe, Dube said the athlete will be expected to do well on his own as the IAAF does not cater for coaches during the Diamond League. Dube said athletes focus more on competing at the Diamond league than training. Meanwhile, Dube said competing in the Diamond league does not threaten Thebe’s chances of giving a good performance during the upcoming IAAF World championships scheduled for London, UK next month.

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New GU Stadium Excites Mochudi based soccer rivals

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Officials at Mochudi village’s biggest  soccer clubs Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Mochudi Rovers are excited at the news that their district will soon have a state of the art football stadium after property and construction magnate Nicholas Zackhem announced the erection of the facility for Gaborone United.

Zackhem, owner and director of Zac Construction, revealed recently to this publication that a football stadium would be built in Bokaa village at a cost of P70 million, with the hope that all phases will be completed by 2025.

Edwin Mothulatshipi, Chairman of Centre Chiefs, as well as Mochudi Rovers’ Chairman Sugar Molefhe both spoke to The Midweek Sun on what the construction of the stadium means for their respective clubs. Both admit they would jump at the opportunity to use the facility for their official matches, and based on what Gaborone United financier Zackhem has shared with The Midweek Sun, it will not be difficult for all the other clubs based around the area to use the facility. TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY, BUY THIS WEEK’S EDITION (11 August 2021) OF THE MIDWEEK SUN AT A STORE NEAR YOU.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.

Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.

“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.

Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.

“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year  for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having  already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.

“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”

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