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Olympic team report card

After touching down empty handed, the team that represented Botswana at the 31st edition of the Olympics in Rio de Jenairo, Brazil, has revealed reasons of what could have motivated the dismal showing at the world’s sporting pinnacle.

The two injuries of the 800m runner, Nigel Amos and 400m runner, Baboloki Thebe that hit the team are said to have been the main obstacle that deprived Batswana Olympic medals at a time when they celebrate the golden jubilee.

The team, prior to the games set a target of at least two medals, something which proved to be a pie in the sky. However, the man who led the mission to Brazil has explained as to what could have led to the poor performance.

“We had this figure based on 400m, 800m and the relay. Unfortunately the two injuries cost us. Remember injuries are part and parcel of sport, you could be fine now. We found out later there that his (Thebe) quadriceps muscles had a problem and he was helped by specialists in Poland. Clement tried his best and took him to those specialists hence he ran the first race. They did ultrasound and MRI and it was discovered that he had partial tear which had to be reconnected,” Chef De Mission, Moses Moruisi said on Thursday.

It was also cleared that, Amos prior to the games was not fit as he lacked a certain component in strength and conditioning which is believed to have impacted on the runner’s lowest time in the heats, a disappointing 1:50:46. As for

Thebe, the injury is said to have always been there hence the 400m runner was pulled out of the team that competed at the All Africa Games (AAG).

 “Unfortunately he was not monitored well hence the injury was recurrent, the system failed him because they couldn’t follow up on the issue and as of now he needed a rehabilitation program for the next events,” team physiologist

Clement Gabathuse highlighted.

Another athlete, Onkabetse Nkobolo, was quoted on social media saying, “Thanks God I managed to finish the race though I have a hamstring injury.” His comment raised more eyebrows as to how the team was sent there unfit.

For their part the team top brass dismissed the talks of injuries saying that, “those were not injuries per se, it is just that the intensity of preparing for the games of that magnitude is high and as a result whenever you run you will always feel the pain and every athlete feel it, it’s only that sometimes our athletes don’t know. Those were just muscle strain,” Gabathuse suggested.  

In fact, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) reiterated that the team performed impressively at the games and stated that, “We wanted to surpass our London target. However, we came with mixed fortunes! We had many finalists and new national records were set. We fielded four 400m runners which was a history, that is, Makwala, Sibanda, Thebe and Naomi and each set a personal best. Naomi was in the 7th heat of 12 where she got position three.

Sibanda had a personal best of 45:15 of which he broke twice; currently he is the 2nd fastest youth in the 400m after Thebe. The relay team also set national records.”

The duo of Thebe and Sibanda after their impressive fate at the games was rewarded by a deal with Nike. The deal whose details are still sketchy is expected to foot Thebe’s medical bills as he would soon be leaving to Italy to see specialists over his injury.

Meanwhile, Botswana is dreaming of five medals at the 2028 games.

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