With a lifetime best of 45.03 secs set this year, Botswana's budding 400m runner Pako Seribe tells AthleticsAfrica's Tunde Eludini - in this exclusive interview - about his progression from the youth ranks to seniors, challenges and prospects for the future.
Here are excerpts of the recent interview in Warri, Nigeria:
AA: Congratulations on your win, is this your first time in Nigeria?
Pako Seribe: This is not my first time in Nigeria and its been great and the athletes I ran against were familiar to me. I know them and they know me.
AA: How has the year 2014 being for you?
Pako Seribe: So far this year has been my year. In May, in SA Open, I ran my PB in 45.03. This Warri Relays is my second race this year and hope this will be good and I will be preparing well for the Commonwealth and the African Championships.
As I said before, I have been running with these guys since I was a youth, I have been with them since we were young, now we are seniors and anybody wins. It just depends on the season. This season could be mine and the next could be that of the other guy. You just try hard get the form you need that will help you win.
AA: How long have you been racing?
Pako Seribe: For me I have been running since high school, training with my seniors while I was in school and from my youth. Since then I have been gathering momentum and here I am.
AA: Any hope of making the headlines any time soon?
Pako Seribe: Yes, I feel like I am going to be hitting the headlines big very soon. The Commonwealth is big in Africa and every athlete wants to be there and with God’s grace I will there very soon.
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AA: What are the challenges African athletes face?
Pako Seribe: In Africa we have lack of competitions but school competitions help us to get our momentum and get our fitness together. After the schools’ competitions we have competition outside Africa but finances are needed for competitions like that.
AA: What is your best and worst moment on the track yet?
Pako Seribe: My best moment so far was 2012 when I qualified for the Olympics Games and my worst moment was when I got injured after qualifying so I had to remain at home. I was sad watching my colleagues from home competing on the big stage but I told myself to get back and start competing again. And here I am earning my gold, running my PBs and I am happy for it.
AA: Future Olympic targets?
Pako Seribe: I am going for Rio [2016 Olympic Games] since I missed the Games in London and I am going for gold. I think I am good for it.
AA: How could African athletes be at par with the Jamaicans and Americans?
Pako Seribe: I think for us to be at par with the Jamaicans and Americans, we will have to show commitment to athletics. I think Africa places premium more on football and that does not allow great development in other areas of sport.
AA: Thank you for speaking with AthleticsAfrica.Com
Pako Seribe: You are most welcome!