Makwala targets Diamond League titles

Commonwealth Games 400m champion Isaac Makwala says he has every intention to claim this year’s 200m and 400m Diamond League trophies.

Makwala was speaking after winning the 200m race during the Gaborone International Meet (GIM) which was held in Gaborone on Sunday. The Tutume born lad proved that his Gold Coast performance was no fluke, crossing the line in 20.10s, his season’s best of the 200m race which elicited high cheers from the spectators at the National Stadium yesterday.

“I was just running for my local supporters but I’m happy with my performance. I feel set this season as I started my preparations five months back,” he said. “I want to defend my 400m title at the diamond league and I would like to also win the 200m diamond trophy.” The 31 year old athlete also stated that he wants to run a 400m world record in the near future, “it’s something that I want more than the Olympics medal.”

The 400m national record holder went on to note that he has always been confident even though he has not always done well in the past. “I mean it depends on someone’s peak; some athletes reach their peak in the early ages whereas some peak in their late ages and I always knew that.”  Makwala said it is his aim to win a medal at the 2020 Olympics. “It will depend but 2020 is still far and without any injuries I’m confident that I will win a medal,” he said.

Hot on Makwala’s heels, Zambian, Sydney Siame came in second, clocking his personal best and Zambian National record of 20.26s in the 200m event. “The race was very fast as you saw I was competing with Makwala who is one of the best in the world. He pushed me up to the finishing line so it was really fantastic. I’m not surprised with my performance as I know I’m improving with every race, the race also helped to prepare for my races in Europe. He intends to run a sub 20 this season as he wants to make it into the continental cup team.

Another gold medal winner from the Commonwealth games Amantle Montsho, easily won the ladies 400m with a time of 51.19s. “I didn’t plan anything for this race; I just came here to entertain my supporters. Since we just came from the Commonwealth games and we haven’t fully recovered I didn’t expect any good time, but I’m happy with my performance,” said Montsho. Galefele Moroko and Goitseone Seleka finished in the third and fourth positions respectively.

Christine Botlogetswe who ran three personal bests in 400m at the Commonwealth games was not to be left behind as she ran a personal best of 23.14s in the ladies 200m. Keene Motukisi clinched the men’s 100m title with 10.39s, Boitumelo Masilo clocked 1:46.44 to win the men’s 800m whereas Leungo Scotch surprised spectators by claiming the men’s 400m with 45.93s finishing before Leaname Maotoanong. Sylvester Koko finished first in the men’s 5000m with a time of 14:28.53 while Ruri Rammokolodi jumped 7.26m to win the men’s long jump.

For his part the GIM director Glody Dube highlighted that they are happy with how the race went. “To us this is a success, of course we had short comings here and there but all will be well. We are also grateful for the spectators’ attendance but we believe changing times might have worked to our disadvantage.” He said he was delighted with the elite athletes that took part in the race, saying “we believe they will come again in the future.”