Botswana recorded its best ever performance in the history of Commonwealth Games (CWG) by winning a tally of five medals at this year’s games.
In the history of the Games, no country has managed to win both men’s and women’s 400m race. Through mesmerizing performances by Amantle Montsho and Isaac Makwala, Botswana gave her signature in the history books.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games were held at Gold Coast, Australia from the 4th till the 15th of this month. Before this year’s competition Botswana’s best performance ever since attending its maiden games in 1974 was during the 2010 New Delhi games when she won a total of four medals. Not only did the country attain a historic feat by winning five medals, it also made history by winning three gold medals in a sole CWG competition. Coming into the games, the country had only won two gold medals in its history; with Amantle Montsho’s gold in New Delhi and Nijel Amos’s gold in Glasgow
For this year’s games the country was represented in five different codes being lawn bowls, swimming, boxing, weight lifting and athletics. It is however the athletics team that proved exceptional and brought home medals as it has always been the case for Botswana at major competitions.
The country registered its first medals at the competition courtesy of 400m athletes in Isaac Makwala and Baboloki Thebe. Makwala finished first in the 400m final recording a time of 44.35s ultimately grasping his long sought after global individual title in the race. Thebe who is also the reigning 400m Champion finished second with a time of 45.09s to ensure Botswana grabbed gold and silver in the men’s one lap race.
Botswana’s dominance in the 400m at the competition persisted as Montsho reiterated her 2010 accomplishment in New Delhi, India winning the women’s 400m race with a time of 50.15. Montsho’s win ensured the country registers its second gold medal and third medal from the 400m race at the competition. She was not the only local athlete in the race as Christine Botlogetswe finished fourth recording a personal best of 51.17.
However the nation’s hopes were shattered in the men’s 800m as Nijel Amos who got in the competition as the defending champion failed to become the first athlete since 1930 to defend the Commonwealth games 800m title. He finished eighth, after dropping from leading the pack for most of race. It is suspected that Amos sustained a calf injury.
With the country having won all its medals at the competition from the 400m race it was to be seen if the fate will persist in the 4x 400m relays something which indeed transpired. The quadrat of Galefele Moroko, Botlogetswe, Loungo Matlhaku and Montsho finished third in ladies 4x400m relay to win the nation’s fourth medal at the competition. In the relay, Montsho who was the anchor went on to prove that she is still one of the fastest 400m women athletes as she took the baton when in the 5th position and managed to grab the third spot in spectacular fashion. The quadrat did not only bring home a bronze medal but also recorded a national record of 3:26.86s.
The men’s 4x400m consisting of Leaname Maotoanong, Baboloki Thebe, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Makwala was not to be left out. It finished first with the anchor athlete, Makwala crossing the line in a time of 3:01.78 to make sure Botswana wins its third gold medal and fifth medal at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
The team’s scintillating performances means that Botswana finishes 16 at this year’s competition, it also finished fifth in all African countries that took part at the games. Its tally of five medals means the country has now won a total of 17 medals ever since attending its first competition which was held in Christchurch in 1974.