Gaborone — Baboloki Thebe will miss the World Championships billed for Doha from September 27 to October 6 due to a left hamstring strain.
He was injured at the All African Games and was ruled out for six weeks hence he will miss to represent Botswana in 400 metres.
Botswana had three athletes who met the qualifying standard for the men's 400m and Thebe's injury means only Ditiro Nzamani and Leungo Scotch will represent the country.
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president technical, Tshepo Kelaotswe said Thebe's injury was a major blow for the country.
He said Thebe helped the relay team to win gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as well as winning a silver medal in the individual 400 metres event.
"It is sad because we had hoped he will play a key role in the relay team, more so that he had qualified for the individual 400 metres," he said.
He said the medical team submitted a comprehensive report, adding that the athlete had sustained a bad tear.
He said they were worried about their athletes missing major events due to injuries, adding that he was of the view that they picked injuries whilst in Europe due to many competitions and to travel to different competitions.
Track and field analyst, Aobakwe Showa said the season has not been smooth for many established athletes.
"Isaac Makwala is struggling to regain his fitness after a lengthy injury. The anticipated return of Karabo Sibanda did not happen and Thebe now being ruled out is a major blow to our 4×400m relay team," he said.
Showa said Botswana was a medal contender in the men's 4×400m relay, but that it was now limping and were vulnerable than ever before.
"None of our quarter milers have dipped under 45s and for a country to be on the podium at least two athletes must split 44s and Thebe was one athlete who was capable of doing that," he said
He said despite the fact that Thebe's speed and experience would be missed, it would be suicidal to rule Botswana out of a podium finish.
He, however, said in 2017 World Championships and at the world relays, Trinidad and Tobago arrived with a not so super-fast team yet toppling big guns to the gold.
"It is all about the hunger and getting it right. I believe the new lads have stepped up.
Leungo Scotch and Zibani Ngozi have really been impressive and are likely to split good times," he said
Showa, however, said although Nijel Amos was a half-miler, he currently had the quickest time locally in 400 metres, adding that he would be a good addition to the relay team.
"But that will depend on his readiness after competing in the gruesome 800metres, but overtime he had done a good job in the relay team," he said.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>