It has been a tough season for local athletes at the 2018 IAAF Diamond League, as none of them is on track to lift the trophy thus far, in a competition they have previously flexed muscles in both 400m and 800m events.
It was former world champion and current Commonwealth Games title -holder, Amantle Montsho who tasted sweet success at the Diamond League some four years ago. Nijel Amos (800m) and Isaac Makwala (400m) followed with their own wins at the lucrative track and field event.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games Gold winner Isaac Makwala came into the Diamond League season as one of the favourites to win the 400m trophy after an extraordinary 2017/18 season at international track. It was however not to be as Makwala was soon struck by a nagging hamstring injury that put him off track after only two races in the Diamond League.
Currently Makwala is at a mere 13 points in the 400m Diamond league standings. The Diamond league concludes at the end of August and Makwala is unlikely to win the 400m category which is currently led by Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar with a mighty 35 points. Makwala’s compatriot, Baboloki Thebe is not having a good time at the Diamond League either, as he is currently trailing at nine points after only two races.
The losing trend gets even worse in the women’s category as the likes of Amantle Montsho and Christine Botlogetswe do not feature in the Diamond League points standings. Both 400m female athletes have competed in a few Diamond League events with little success. The slump in performance by local athletes this season has been attributed to injuries and pure bad luck. This is according to the former 800m Runner, Glody Dube.
“The Diamond League requires athletes to accumulate points and if they stop working they do not earn money. This means it is important to remain at the top,” Dube said in an interview. According to Dube athletes are expected to foot their own medical bills in Europe when they sustain injuries. “The manager can help the athlete to find medical assistance but the money will be drawn from their earnings. People might not know how these athletes struggle in Europe as they have to pay for lodging and transport expenses.”
Meanwhile both Makwala and Montsho have been side-lined from the upcoming CAA Africa Senior Championships due to injuries. In an interview the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) spokesperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba confirmed that both Makwala and Montsho will not be competing at the event Scheduled for Asaba, Nigeria early next month. Furthermore, Ramatshaba said injuries might be the reason why both star athletes are not active at the ongoing Diamond League.
The Diamond League offers USD50 000 for the champion in each category. First place in single Diamond League race comes with a USD10 000 prize.