Makwala aims for more glory

  • But there is concern that this crowded calendar will mean Makwala does not get enough respite between meets.

Tlotlo Kebinakgabo

Despite the long and tough season ahead, Botswana’s 400m sensation Isaac Makwala is optimistic that he will emulate or even surpass his 2017 scintillating performance.

The Tutume-born athlete became the first man since history was recorded to run 200m within 20 seconds (sub-20) and 400m within 44 seconds (sub-44) on the same day at the IAAF World Challenge that was held at Spain in July last year.

Makwala also became the first Motswana man to win the Diamond League’s 400m trophy. He put on brilliant performances at the 2017 IAAF London World Championships.

But this season is going to be a totally different and busy one for the 30-year old as it is piled up with several major international events. These include the Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia from 4 to 15 April where the local lad will be hoping to win his maiden medal of the competition.

The 2018 Diamond League is scheduled to kick off on May 4 in Doha while the 21st African Senior Championships will take place in Nigeria from 1 to 5 August.  Another mayor event that Makwala is expected to take part in is the IAAF Continental Cup that is billed for the Czech Republic from 8 to 9 September.

“Looking at the calendar of events, it’s going to be a very difficult season for me,” said the athlete. ‘But my main targets are to defend my Diamond League 400m trophy, retain my African title and win the Continental Cup.”

He lost the 400m African title to another local 400m athlete Baboloki Thebe in Durban, South Africa in 2016.

The 400m national record holder (43.72) is still uncertain of how he wants to fare at the Commonwealth Games. “They are coming early this year (April) and I am usually not 100 %fit during that time because I usually reach my peak around June or July, Makwala noted. “But I will do my best as usual and try to bring home a medal.”

His coach, Justice Dipeba, has described Makwala as “very promising this year” to Global Sport. But Dipeba was also quick to note that this season would be a tough one, that to its starting early and length.

“This season is upside down,” he said. “Your Commonwealth Games are coming in 10 weeks’ time and Makwala has to be fit at that time. He is a unique athlete who normally reaches his peak around June or July, so it’s going to be very difficult for us.

“We have to be very smart and take things step by step. Focus on a few things to ensure that he stays in good shape for the whole season. It is not going to be easy for us though, but our objective is to emulate his 2017 performance or even surpass it.”

Dipeba noted that the idea was to limit Makwala’s races, taking his age into consideration. “He has to get enough recovery in between his races and to eat well because he is ageing,” he said. “But it’s not going to be easy to stop him from competing in some races because that is how he makes his money.” he said.

Makwala’s 400m personal bests from 2012 until 2017

Performance Place Date
43.84 Monaco 21 July 2017
44.85 Rome (Italy) 02 June 2016
43.72 La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) 05 July 2015
44.01 La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) 06 July 2014
45.86 La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) 07 July 2013
45.25 Porto Novo (Benin) 29 June 2012