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Makwala Storms To Victory At Diamond League Final

Local athletics powerhouse Isaac ‘’Badman’’ Makwala yesterday stormed to
victory at the Diamond League in Zurich where he walked away with prize
money of US$50,000 and a Diamond league trophy.

Makwala came to the race as a favorite to win in the absence of his long
time rival, the South African Wayde Van Niekerk, who is also the current
world record holder.

Makwala battled from lane 6 and powered to victory in a time of 43.95
seconds defeating USA’s Roberts Gil who came second in 44.54s with Norwood
Vernon of the USA coming third in 45.01 in what was by all accounts a
dominant performance by the local athlete, who was controversially barred
from participating in the World Championships 400 m final recently for an
alleged medically untested 'illness.'

Throughout the race Makwala ran strongly especially as he approached the
bend on the 300m mark, a situation made easier by the fact that his only
really threat Steven Gardiner stumbled out of the starting blocks leaving
Makwala to contend with a trio of unknown and untested faces.

Sports Journalist Bapati Mmotlanyane said the performance revealed a “gulf
in class.’’

“Brilliant and solid piece of sprinting, got a decent start and was already
flying on the back straight,’’ he said.

Mmotlanyane stressed Makwala was the favorite to win the race given the
quality on the field.

“The only close rival in contention was Gardiner who’s had a stellar
season, his stumble off the blocks surely left Makwala with less to
struggle for the win especially against Athletes who are yet to break the
sub 44 barrier, But we can never underestimate Makwala’s victory more so
that it was yet again another sub 44 which he has become accustomed to
running consistently this season,’’said Mmotlanyane.

The sport analyst is of the view that Wayde’s absence gave room for
Makwala, who is in the form of his life to shine and prove the doubters who
think Makwala is a 'one race' wonder wrong and continue to dominate an
event where he promised so much early in his career.

“Equally its more of the same scenario to when Makwala missed the final at
the World Championships, its impossible to predict such,’’ he said. Mmotlanyane
added, ”The only mistake we can only fall for is trying to compare the
duo’s times in different races.’’

A victory for Makwala comes at the right time with the athlete set to
receive a presidential honor and P100 000 as a token of recognition from
the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama
for his performances in the 400m race.

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