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).
New GU Stadium Excites Mochudi based soccer rivals
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.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
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.”