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Nagging injuries haunt Thebe

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Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) national team coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe this week said sensational sprinter Babuluki Thebe will now concentrate in 400m races only. In a recent interview Otsetswe said as the 2018 Australia Commonwealth games fast approaches, Thebe has to stay focused in his main category. The young athlete will no longer be competing in 100m or 200m events for the remaining BAA track and field events. Thus far, Mogomotsi said he was impressed by the athlete performance since the beginning of the season.

Thebe just recovered from recurring injuries that have been threatening his running career and Otsetswe said they have to be cautious with him in training. Thebe’s performance this past weekend at the BAA super night track and field event held in Lobatse might have also contributed to the coach’s decision fearing unexpected injuries. In his 400m run at Lobatse, Thebe came in third after Karabo Sibanda and Onkabetse Nkobolo. The athlete appeared to have picked yet another injury in the last 200m of the race, he struggled to reach the finishing point. However, he managed to push himself and recorded 46.20s. Thebe’s teammate Karabo Sibanda who was competing for the first time this season managed to clock an impressive 45.58s that saw him claim first position.

“I do not know what could be wrong because I have not spoken to him yet, but I saw that he was struggling towards the finishing point. We have to be careful with Thebe and I have advised him that every time he feels that he cannot run any further, he should pull back because we still need him,” Otsetswe said. Thebe described his visible thigh pain as a minor muscle strain and nothing serious.

The athletes brushed off the injury, adding that he would be fine in a few days and ready for the next race. The African 400m champion said he has to put in more effort during training, “ I had an early warm up and our race was the last one of the eight heats. I believe that is what triggered this pain,” Thebe said. Quizzed on whether he will be going back to sprint races anytime soon, Thebe explained that he uses the short races to improve his speed but he has to follow his coach’s instructions. The ambitious Maun native said he is aiming to finish in the top three at the upcoming Commonwealth games.

Other elite athletes who performed wonders on the day are former world champion Amantle Montsho who easily won the 400m women clocking 51.78s. “For me this was like a test, its good to begin the season with 51s, I am really impressed. If I can qualify for the IAAF Diamond league this season I will be really happy.” Montsho said shortly after her race. Loungo Matlhaku also was an unstoppable force in the 100m women, defeating Christine Botlogetswe with a time of 11.56s while Botlogetswe came second with a time of 11.81s.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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