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Baboloki Thebe - a diamond

Athletics was not his favourite sport, his love and affection was with football during his primary school day, but his teachers Nthwalang Junior Secondary School, saw a rough diamond which can be polished for track and ultimately make an impact in athletics.

He was then thrown in the deep end to run both 100metres and 200 metres,  well he did not disappoint on track  given that in  2013 he was  BISA finals silver medallist in the 4x400m and a bronze medallist in the 200m. 

In 2014 he managed to win  three gold medals in COSSASA games under the 100m, 200m and 200m medley relay respectivelly,as if that was not enough he won a trophy for breaking the COSSASA 100m record and helped his relay team set a COSSASA new record.

It was during the 2014 African Youth Games which were staged in Gaborone, where he realised his fully potential when he won two medals   bronze in the 100m and gold in the 200m.

Kutlwano reporter Anastasia Sibanda had a chat with Baboloki “Hurricane” Thebe

Kutlwano: Hi Hurricane, how are you

Thebe: Hi Madam I’m fine I can complain, hey it’s too hot but I have to go and jog I am preparing for next season/

Kutlwano: So you are already preparing for next season 

Thebe: Yah what can I do, I had a rough season, so I have to work very hard for next season, my aim is to compete at the World Championship to be staged in London next year, so preparation is a process, for you to be successful you have to start now.

Kutlwano: Oh ok before we talk about the World Championships, Diamond League and Botswana Athletics Championships tell me about you dumping both 100m and 200 m and focusing on 400 m.

Thebe: Ha ha ha I knew you will ask that question, but I think you know better because you were at the stadium that fateful day,  it was March last year, I was just gambling and I never thought I would run 400 m well, and because I was with Isaac Makwala and other seasoned athletes  like Leaname Maotoanong,I was just in the race to add numbers, but I was shocked that I finished on position one  in the event hitting the Olympic qualifying standard on my  debut clocking 45.23 during the Private Tertiary Institution Association athletics championship meet held at the University of Botswana.

Kutlwano: Mmmmm, you are a beast, and from there what happened, tell me more

Thebe: Well that day I started believing in myself ,and I realised that I can do better in the 400 m race, then together with my coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe agreed that I should now focus in the 400 metres and suspend 100 and 200 metres, I was impressed when during the BAA national I shattered my record and recorded my Personal Best of  44.22.Still during the same competition the following day I won the 200m  with 20.21,still hitting the Olympic qualifying standard,nne ke kopolotse thipa ha ha ha 

Kutlwano: Oh yah talking about your PB I understand you are holding African under 20 record

Thebe: Not only that it means I am   second-fastest U20 athlete after Steve Lewis who clocked 43.87 at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. 

Kutlwano: That’s why I said you are beast, now talk about 20th CAA African Senior Championship in South Africa where you were crowned the Africa 400 m champion after clocking  your fastest time at sea level, of 44.69,and helped Botswana team to win the 4x400m relay.                      

Thebe: I don’t know how to express myself about that competetion, it was like a dream to me it was my first Africa Senior Championships, I was very excited and to be honest I did not expect that performance I went there to learn from the best and there I was I reached the finish line first, as I was still trying to come to terms with my performance just after 12 hours after being crowned Africa Champion I won the junior sportsman of the year at the inaugural African Union Sport Council.

Kutlwano: Yah neh you had a successful season

Thebe: I wouldn’t say I had a successful season, remember I missed to prove my mettle at two big international stages, in Poland I was disqualified for lane violation, but hoped to redeem my pride at the Olympic Games, then I had an injury.

Kutlwano: How is the injury now, I understand you went to Italy for medical attention so what were the findings 

Thebe: I went through robust examination in Italy, after numerous scans, the doctors said because  I have been resting the injury has cured itself, but they insisted that in the meantime  he was instructed that  in the meantime  I can only start to jog and do light training during the off- season training.

Kutlwano: Nice to hear that what are your plans moving forward, Hurricane

Thebe: Like any other athlete, I have a dream of winning all major competetions,but I know it does not come easy, I have to work very hard next season we have Bahamas realy,BAA Championships and World Championships, so hopeful I will be injury free, a ha ha I have to go it’s time for training now.

Kutlwano: Wait before you go, I understand a lucrative deal with Nike, and do you mind sharing it with us

Thebe: ha ha ha did you just said a lucrative deal, well I signed a deal but it an agreement between me and Nike so I don’t think I am prepared to share it, I am sorry I wish I could but you know a contract is a confidential things.

Kutlwano: Yah maan I can see you are clad with Nike brand from head to toe, it must be a very good deal

Thebe: It is just a deal, you think you can sweet-talk me to tell you the content of the contact, forget it, ha ha ha 

Kutlwano: Sure thanks for your time 

Thebe: Sure but I would like to thank my team-mates for their support, BNOC, BAA, Batswana, my family ha ha and off course you!!! Ana, thank you for your support, we sometimes joke about you in camp the way you speak loudly to us over the phone in excitement when we have won something, but it is always Samachana and Nijel who are always leading in gossiping about you, not me ha ha ha ha ha thanks very much.

Kutlwano:Ha ha you guys, well thanks and all the best for the coming season

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