Sparkling moments for Bots top athletes
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – Botswana’s top athletes, Isaac Makwala and Nijel Amos grabbed morale boosting and fine wins at a critical time, as they make final touches ahead of the World Championships in London starting on August 5.
Makwala completed a rare 200m and 400m double in Madrid, Spain last week, running the 200m in under 20secs and a sub 44 in the 400m on the same night.
In the 400m, Makwala stopped the clock at 43.92, only his second sub44 run in his entire career. The 30year-old narrowly missed US former sprinter, Michael Johnson’s long standing record of 43.90 set in 1994.
US’ Vernon Norwood, in second, trailed way behind Makwala, finishing after 44.75 to underline the Botswana runner’s dominance on the night.
Makwala, who has flattered to deceive in the past, was in blistering form in the 200m later on. He broke Carl Lewis’ 30year-old record, when he finished the 200m race in 19.77, setting a personal best, and the world’s leading time for 2017.
The former African 400m champion beat his previous best mark of 19.96.
“I am satisfied, but I know I can run faster. My goal in London is the gold medal, I know I can do it,” he said after the stunning double.
But Makwala knows that he faces world champion and neighbour, South Africa’s Wayde van Nierkek in London.
Makwala, who has failed to fire when a lot is expected from him, would hope to exorcise that ghost as he heads to London.
But before the London races, he will compete at the IAAF Diamond League in Monaco.
Makwala’s countryman, Amos continued to send a strong message ahead of the World Championships.
After starting off the year slowly, Amos now heads the 800m Diamond League standings and is in belligerent mood ahead of the World Championships.
He is fresh from a third successive win after he finished first in Rabat, Morocco recently.
The 23year-old showed impressive pace and stamina to finish the only Diamond League in Africa in 1.43.91.
“I have been working hard on my speed. When they were closing in on me, I had a good finishing kick,” he said after the race.
Amos is fresh from setting a world lead of 1.43.11 in London on July 9, and now has edged ahead of world champion, David Rudisha as favourite for gold in London.
Three races remain and Amos is now in pole position to win the title he held in 2015.