Botswana: Masalela Takes to Track Today

Faith Kipyegon leading the race at the World Championships in Oregon (file photo).

Gaborone — Botswana's 800 metres runner Tshepiso 'Machine' Masalela will be in action today at the ongoing World Athletics Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary at 7.20pm.

Masalela will be carrying the nation's hopes to go all the way to the finals.

Over time, he has proved to be a fighter on track, who never gives up until the finish line.

Masalela, who will be in heat one lane four, will line up with amongst others, Algerian Mahomed Ali Gouaned, Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Italian Catalin Tecuceanu and Gabriel Tual from France.

Team Botswana coach, Chilume Ntshwarang said in an interview that Masalela was raring to go, adding that he was confident that he would proceed to the next round.

He said they did his last 200 metres sessions on Sunday and he showed a lot of maturity.

Ntshwarang said they had encouraged him to enjoy his race looking at the fact that they could be a lot of pressure from supporters.

"According to me, he is fit and expectations are that he will go all the way to the finals," he said.

Sunday Standard sports editor, Botlhale Koothopile said the race would be a test for the local lad adding that in the line up, he would be against athletes who ran better times.

He said Machine was yet to go under 1:45 while athletes such as Wanyonyi, who was among athletes he will face, ran under 1:44.

"That being said however, these are World Championships and anything is possible. Personal Best times count for less here and mental fortitude is the currency of the day," he said.

Koothopile said Masalela's times had improved this past year adding that he had it in him to go through to the semi-finals.

Interestingly, he said his PBs had been in category A races as compared to lower categories, adding that he did well at the FNB Botswana Grand Prix and the Kip Keino Classic as compared to the lowly ranked competitions.

"This shows he is a man for the big occasion and if he continues to do such, he will be through to the semis," he said.


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