Gaborone — Since the country has been struggling to find sprinters to feature in major competitions such as the Olympics and World Champions, the discovery of a 100 metres runner, Zabrone Machara during the ongoing Botswana Games in Gaborone has given hope that the country will now be well represented.
The million-dollar question is should Batswana start celebrating the birth of Machara, or is it premature to beat the drums and sing.
Born and bred in Francistown 18 years ago, Machara is still a rough diamond that needs polishing, but his character and determination can give Batswana a ray of hope.
Recently at the BISA games held in Francistown, spectators came to watch him with the hope that he will win the race, but he was disqualified in the 100 metres final, and as if that was not enough, he failed to finish the 200 metres due to injury.
Coming to the Botswana Games, Machara's mission was to redeem his pride and demonstrate that he was the future, and this time he did not disappoint, as he showed his mettle in both the 100 and 200 metres respectively.
Despite the fact that spectators were confused as to who would win the final between him and his track nemesis, Gaone Rankwetla.
Zabrone hit the finish line first with a time of 10:79 and Rankwetla came second in 11:02.
On December 12, Machara continued to rule the track in the 4x100 metre men relay final after he was handed the baton in the second leg, as his teammates did not have a good start.
He made a good recovery from behind and handed the baton in a good position and his team, made up of Mooketsi Montshiwa, Uyapo Seeketso, Nicholas Kegakgametse cruised to the finish line with a time of 43:19 to win the gold medal.
On December 13, he was back on the track again in the 200 metres, and even before the gun was fired, all the spectators were on their feet just to watch how the young man will approach his 200 metres final.
From the start of the race, it was Machara who controlled the pace and negotiated the curve brilliantly to emerge ahead in the home straight, and it was clear that he was taking the race.
He crossed the finish line first, clocking 22:22 followed by Onneile Phokedi in 22:29 while Rankwetla finished third in 22:32.
Francistown team manager, Constance Bokutlho said nothing was surprising about Machara's performance since he worked hard preparing for the games.
Bokutlho said she was happy with the athlete's time, adding that Machara made a good comeback after failing to compete in the BISA finals.
"Zabrone is one athlete who is determined, self-driven and easy to work with. Before we even started preparing for the games, he was training on his own. A lot of people do not pay attention to him because he is a shy person and reserved, but watch out for this boy, he is going to go places," she said.
His sister, Abshelm Machara, who came all the way from Francistown to watch him, said they would continue to support him.
"We are from the Zezuru culture, but I can assure you that he will continue running. He is not going to be lost to athletics, and we believe we live in a new era, so he is not going to sell brooms and feather dusters, and our mother encourages us to go to school and participate in different events," she said.
Machara said he was happy to have won three gold medals in the games, adding that it motivated him to continue working even harder.
"My coach told me to run my race with no pressure, and after my disqualification at the BISA finals I told myself that I have to redeem myself. I am very happy," he said.