Montsho finishes third on return
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – Former 400m world champion, Amantle Montsho crossed the line in third place during a weekend local athletics competition in Lobatse as she made her return after a two- year ban for taking a banned substance.
Montsho finished in 54.49 seconds well below her personal best of 49.33 but was satisfied with her run, her first since she tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
On Saturday, Montsho told journalists that her target was more on testing her endurance and emphasised that position does not matter at this stage. Lydia Jele and Christine Botlogetswe, who both represented Botswana at the Olympic Games in Rio last year, finished ahead of Montsho.
“I am happy with the way I ran the race looking at the fact that I just completed a two-year suspension.
“My main aim was not to compete for a position but rather work on my endurance. I am happy with my fitness and from here I am going to work on speed and I think I will perform much better in the next race,” Montsho said.
The 2011 world champion said the weather had worked against the athletes as there was heavy wind.
“There was rain and wind which affected our performance,” the 35-year-old Montsho said.
Her coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe was equally happy with her athlete’s performance.
He said the aim was to gauge Montsho’s fitness levels, and her position was irrelevant at this stage.
“She ran quite well, we were not worried about her position but wanted to check her condition including endurance and I am happy about it. We are going to work on her from here. I think she will meet qualifying times for international competitions,” the coach said.
Montsho’s primary target is the World Championships in London in August and with age not on her side, this could effectively be her last major tournament. For female athletes to qualify for the World Championships in the 400m they have to run 52.10 and under by July 23.