Baboloki Thebe - Botswana’s rising star

Rising Botswana's 400m star Baboloki Thebe said missing out on the 2017 IAAF Diamond League Finals after sustaining a grade two rectus femoris tear was a serious setback in his athletics career.

Thebe sustained an injury during the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in London, and the ultrasound confirmed that there was approximate 1.5-1.7cm tear midway up left rectus femoris.

It also revealed some previous scar tissue from an old injury at the distal end of the rectus femoris and it was therefore recommended that Thebe’s recovery from the grade two strain will take a healing time 10 days to six weeks, hence Thebe will not make it to the Diamond League finals on Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland.

On Monday Thebe wrote on his Facebook page: “Reality has sunk in. No Diamond League final for me, after working so very hard to qualify. Sometimes don’t be deceived by my smile, cos behind it, there is pain and agony, but it is well, God has great plans for me.”

He however said in an interview that a lot had happened in his career, but missing the Diamond League finals had hurt him hard.

“This was my first full Diamond League circuit, and I have worked very hard hence I am currently occupying position one in the 400 metres, with 35 points. That alone is an indication that I wanted the finals very badly,” he said.

Furthermore, he said it was every athlete’s dream to line up in the finals, adding that he was cognisant that injuries were part of the game and no athlete had control over them.

“I will watch the finals from the comfort of my couch. Is that what I wanted? No, my desire was to be on Zurich track competing with other top athletes, like Isaac Makwala, and Stephen Gardiner of The Bahamas,” he said.

Thebe is at the top of the 400m Diamond Trophy log after accumulating 35 points in previous Diamond League meetings. He had a very smooth circuit given that he won in Oslo and finished second in Eugene, Stockholm and Lausanne, and third position in Monaco.

University of Botswana sport psychology, sociology of sport and track and field lecturer, Dr Tshepang Tshube said he equated Thebe missing of the diamond final to a major loss in life. And like any other loss, it is hurtful and sad.

He said the athlete had to mourn it but also consider the fact that he did ‘exceptionally’ well at the just ended IAAF World Championships in London.

“This may be an opportunity for him to end the season early, rest and get more time to prepare for the next season,” he said.

(Story credit: BOPA)