Botswana were full value for their money after hauling 19 medals to outsmart competitors in the Confederation of African Athletics Southern Region Senior Championships held in Reduit, Mauritius, last weekend.
A total of 11 countries from the SADC region took part in the mouth-watering track and field contest.
And it was the pre-event favourites Botswana who rose to the occasion to clinch pole spot though they were made to sweat for the prize.
They pocketed a whooping 10 gold, six silver and three bronze medals to run away with the regional crown.
Their athletes dominated in both track and field competitions with triple jumper Tshwanelo Aabobe making a loud statement in the men’s section while Tsaone Sebele showed a clean pair of heels in the female’s sprint categories.
The hosts did not disappoint as they put together a solid performance to collect an incredible 28 medals, four gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze as they showed significant progress in this code.
South Africa with six gold, two silver and a bronze shared the same position with the hosts as the likes of field star Fredriech Pretorius led the way with a pair of gold medals in long-jump and javelin.
It was also a tournament where budding athletes reaffirmed their intentions to take the sport by storm.
Though his country could only nail fourth place, promising Zimbabwean sprinter Ngoni Makusha showed how good he is when it comes to short-distance events.
Clocking a commendable 10:33 in the 100m, Makusha was by far smarter than his pursuers Jonathan Bardottier of Mauritius and Seychelles’ Dylan Sicobo who hit the line in 10:37 and 10:44 respectively.
He was to out-manoeuvre the field yet again in the 200m with a respectable 20:83 time, good enough to earn him first place ahead of South Africa’s Ashley Hlungwani (21:11) and Leaname Matoanong of Botswana who touched the line in 21:12.
National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president Patrick Tagara said the manner in which the CAA championships unfolded showed great improvement on the part of Southern Africa.
With more taxing events in the offing, Tagara expressed confidence the region was poised to bag more medals if the level of competitiveness shown by the athletes last weekend is anything to go by.
“The region is definitely heading in the right direction in terms of athletics. The organisation and level of competition in last weekend’s contest was up to scratch.
“I can foresee Southern Africa winning a lot of medals in future international tournaments. The level of competition, the fitness of athletes and everything about the event was just what the doctor ordered. We are very encouraged,” said Tagara.
CAA Southern Region Senior Championships Winners.
100m: Ngoni Makusha (Zimbabwe) 10.33
200m: Ngoni Makusha (Zimbabwe) 20.83
400m: Leungo Scotch (Botswana) 45.70
800m: Tshepiso Masalela (Botswana) 1:49.73
High jump: Tshwanelo Aabobe (Botswana) 2.17m
Pole vault: Fabrice Rajah (Mauritius) 4.30m
Long jump: Fredriech Pretorius (South Africa) 7.24m
Triple: Tshwanelo Aabobe (Botswana) 15.93m
Shot put: Sylvain Pierre Louis (Mauritius) 14.58m
Discus: Christopher Sophie (Mauritius) 52.30m
Hammer: Nicholas Li Yun Fong (Mauritius) 61.19m
Javelin: Fredriech Pretorius (South Africa) 57.91m
4x100m: 1. Mauritius 40.75 (Bardottier, Lararaudeuse, Bibi, Cotte)
4x400m: Botswana 3:07.55
100m: Tsaone Sebele (Botswana) 11.64
200m: Beatrice Masilingi (Namibia) 23.85
400m: Beatrice Masilingi (Namibia) 53.73
800m: Oratile Nowe (Namibia) 2:08.70
Long jump: Melissa Nigathe (Mauritius) 5.69m
Triple: Patience Ntshingila (South Africa) 13.17m
Shot put: Meike Strydom (South Africa) 14.65m
Discus: Meike Strydom (South Africa) 41.52m
Hammer: Chane Margo Pretorius (South Africa) 55.64m
Javelin: Jessika Rosun (Mauritius) 48.99m
4x100m: Zambia 45.95 (Makumba, Njobvu, Mazala, Katunda
4x400m: Botswana 3:47.68