Amos struggling to hit top gear

Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – Botswana’s first ever Olympics medallist, Nijel Amos is battling to hit top gear, as injuries and bad luck block his progress just five years after wining a silver medal at the London Olympic Games.

Amos became the only Motswana to win a medal at the edge Olympics when he finished second behind David Rudisha in the fastest iddm race in history.

But that triumph is fast becoming dis- tant memory as Amos struggles to con- jure the same magic.

Besides a Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow, Amos has largely failed to impress since bursting into the international scene as a fresh faced, 18yearold in 2012.

He is a former junior world champion and has also won the Diamond Sam- sung League series in 2015. But it has been a barren two years for a boy who rose from the rural village of Marobela, in the North East of the country.

Amos has struggled with injuries and lack of form, suffering a shock exit at the World Championships in Beijing before falling at the first hurdle at the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

He tried in vain to make a triumphant return to the Diamond League in Rome, Italy on Thursday, but fared just as badly, finishing ggth in a gemen line-up.

What compounded Amos’ challenge in Rome is that when he tried to acceler- ate from the back of the pack, he tripped and fell.

Amos told reporters that he had time his race and wanted to accelerate late on. “But it didn’t turn out that way. After the first 150metres, I found myself in a box and I couldn’t run my race,” Amos said.

He said the aim was not to necessarily win the race, but test his body’s endurance after a long time out of competitive races.

Amos now aims for a better show- ing when the Diamond League series moves to Paris next month, with two races lined-up in Slovakia before then.

The other Motswana in the Diamond League race, Lydia Jele gave it her all but finished sixth with a time of 51:53 the women’s 400m.

Meanwhile, Botswana dominated the Southern Region Championships held in Zimbabwe over the weekend, finish- ing first in a competition that attracted gdcountries.

Botswana sent a strong team to Harare and were duly rewarded with a haul of 12gold, four silver and bronze medals. The blue, black and white nation had household names such as Amantle Montsho, Isaac Makwala and Baboloki Thebe in the team that travelled to Zimbabwe for the two day competition, which ended on Sunday.

South finished second with nine gold, gd silver and five bronze. Mozambique came third with two of gold and silver medals and three bronze.

Namibia was fourth with two gold, one silver and nine bronze while hosts, Zimbabwe finished a disappointing seventh with just one gold, nine silver and bronze medals.

Mauritius brought the rear in 10th with one gold and two silver medals.

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