When he left Gaborone for the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships, which ended in Bydgoszcz, Poland, last Sunday, Botswana‘s 400 metres runner Baboloki ‘Hurricane’ Thebe mission was to break the World under-20 record of 43.87 seconds set by American Steve Lewis at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.
But that was not be as he was disqualified in the men’s 400m semi-finals for a lane infringement after clocking an impressive 44.26 seconds.
Despite not competing in the 400m final, Baboloki Thebe sent a clear message to his track rivals after recording a split of 43.5 to help the Botswana quartet to a silver medal, and African U20 record of 3:02.81 in the 4x400m relays final.
Thebe, who’s the reigning African Senior 400m champion, was given a rousing welcome by the Botswana Athletics Association and the Botswana public on arrival home together with his team-mates from Poland.
He said in an interview that although he was disqualified, that did not make him lose focus in the relay team.
“Look, rules are rules and they have to be obeyed, but what I can tell you is that, I have learned a very good lesson we always learn from our mistakes,” said Thebe.
“What is done is done, I can’t sit here and cry over spilled milk, I am now focusing on the Olympic Games, that is where my focus is currently,” he added.
Thebe has qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 200m, 400m and will also be part of the Botswana 4x400m relay’s team.
The Athletics competition of the Rio 2016 Olympics will run from August 5-21 at the Rio Olympic Stadium.