|100 Metres||10.29||+1.9||Gaborone (BOT)||23 MAY 2015|
|200 Metres||20.21||+1.4||Gaborone (BOT)||22 MAY 2016|
|400 Metres||44.02||Lausanne (SUI)||06 JUL 2017|
|4x100 Metres Relay||40.11||Gaborone (BOT)||22 MAY 2016|
|4x400 Metres Relay||3:01.78||Gold Coast (AUS)||14 APR 2018|
|100 Metres||10.57||-1.9||Francistown (BOT)||27 JAN 2018|
|200 Metres||20.79||-1.6||Ostrava (CZE)||08 SEP 2018|
|400 Metres||44.54||London (GBR)||21 JUL 2018|
|4x400 Metres Relay||3:01.78||Gold Coast (AUS)||14 APR 2018|
|2018||10.57||-1.9||Francistown (BOT)||27 JAN 2018|
|2016||10.36||+2.0||Réduit (MRI)||03 APR 2016|
|2015||10.29||+1.9||Gaborone (BOT)||23 MAY 2015|
|2014||10.60||0.0||Potchefstroom (RSA)||09 MAY 2014|
|2018||20.79||-1.6||Ostrava (CZE)||08 SEP 2018|
|2016||20.21||+1.4||Gaborone (BOT)||22 MAY 2016|
|2014||20.99||+1.8||Bulawayo (ZIM)||11 DEC 2014|
|2018||44.54||London (GBR)||21 JUL 2018|
|2017||44.02||Lausanne (SUI)||06 JUL 2017|
|2016||44.22||Gaborone (BOT)||21 MAY 2016|
|2016||40.11||Gaborone (BOT)||22 MAY 2016|
|2014||40.53||Eugene, OR (USA)||25 JUL 2014|
|2018||3:01.78||Gold Coast (AUS)||14 APR 2018|
|2017||3:02.28||Nassau (BAH)||23 APR 2017|
|2016||3:02.20||Durban (RSA)||26 JUN 2016|
|2014||3:07.80||Eugene, OR (USA)||26 JUL 2014|
|4.||400 Metres||44.66||London (GBR)||08 AUG 2017|
|2.||4x400 Metres Relay||3:02.28||Nassau (BAH)||23 APR 2017|
|2.||400 Metres||45.10||Ostrava (CZE)||09 SEP 2018|
|2.||4x400 Metres Relay Mixed||3:16.19||Ostrava (CZE)||09 SEP 2018|
|7.||200 Metres||20.79||-1.6||Ostrava (CZE)||08 SEP 2018|
|2.||4x400 Metres Relay||3:02.81||Bydgoszcz (POL)||24 JUL 2016|
|1.||4x400 Metres Relay||3:02.20||Durban (RSA)||26 JUN 2016|
|1.||400 Metres||44.69||Durban (RSA)||24 JUN 2016|
|7.||4x100 Metres Relay||40.40||Durban (RSA)||24 JUN 2016|
|1.||400 Metres||44.95||Oslo (NOR)||15 JUN 2017|
|1.||4x400 Metres Relay||3:02.29||Doha (QAT)||06 MAY 2016|
|1.||4x400 Metres Relay||3:01.78||Gold Coast (AUS)||14 APR 2018|
|2.||400 Metres||45.09||Gold Coast (AUS)||10 APR 2018|
|2.||200 Metres||21.20||+0.3||Nanjing (CHN)||24 AUG 2014|
|27 JAN 2018||Francistown BAA Super Night||BOT||F||F5||2.||10.57||-1.9|
|11 JAN 2018||Gaborone BAA Meet||BOT||F||F3||1.||21.16||0.0|
|08 SEP 2018||Ostrava IAAF Continental Cup||CZE||GW||F1||7.||20.79||-1.6|
|08 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games||AUS||A||H4||3.||46.17|
|09 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games||AUS||A||SF2||2.||45.54|
|10 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games||AUS||A||F||2.||45.09|
|04 MAY 2018||Doha IAAF Diamond League||QAT||GW||F||5.||45.58|
|13 JUN 2018||Ostrava Golden Spike||CZE||A||F||7.||46.53|
|22 JUN 2018||Madrid Meeting 2018||ESP||A||F1||4.||45.00|
|02 JUL 2018||Székesfehérvár Gyulai István Memorial Hungarian GP||HUN||C||F||2.||45.13|
|21 JUL 2018||London Müller Anniversary Games||GBR||GW||F||4.||44.54|
|18 AUG 2018||Birmingham Müller Grand Prix||GBR||GW||F||7.||46.35|
|30 AUG 2018||Zürich Weltklasse||SUI||DF||F||5.||45.41|
|09 SEP 2018||Ostrava IAAF Continental Cup||CZE||GW||F1||2.||45.10|
|13 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games||AUS||A||H1||1.||3:05.01|
|14 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games||AUS||A||F||1.||3:01.78|
|09 SEP 2018||Ostrava IAAF Continental Cup||CZE||GW||F1||2.||3:16.19|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Updated 2 August 2016
Baboloki THEBE, Botswana (400m)
Born 18 March 1997, Ramonaka (Botswana)
Coach: Mogomotsi Otsetswe
Botswana’s new 400m rising talent Baboloki Thebe hails from Ramonaka, a small village in the Kgatleng district, 65km east of the capital Gaborone. The last born in a family of three siblings, he used to play football in primary school. He started participating in athletics at the Nthwalang Junior Secondary School in Digawana, motivated by the possibility of going on sport trips and travelling with his team mates but was not that much into running at first. His teachers, who realised his potential in the sport, made him run the 100m, 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m.
The young boy progressively grew more serious about the sport. In 2013 at the BISA nationals, the national school championships, he won a bronze medal in the 200m and a silver in the 4x400m race. In May, he was selected in Botswana’s team for the COSSASA Championships (Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa) in Harare, Zimbabwe. There, he finished fifth of the 100m in 11.09.
He enrolled at Good Hope Senior Secondary School in Gaborone, identified as Centre of Sports Excellence, to pursue his studies and was called up to the national team camp in December 2013, in preparation for the 2014 Africa Youth Games which were staged in Gaborone. It was during the camp that he met and started working with current coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe.
The young Thebe started the 2014 season with a fourth place in the 100m (10.68w) at the Sportsview meet in Gaborone on 19 April. The following week, he shone at the COSSASA Games hosted in Botswana, claiming three titles in the 100m, 200m and the medley relay. In May, the 17-year old travelled to South Africa for the Southern Africa Junior Championships in Potchefstroom, where he finished second in the 100m in 10.60 and third in the 200m in 21.44 (after having clocked 21.42 in the heats).
The 2014 Africa Youth Games marked Thebe’s emergence on the national athletics landscape, as he was one of the two Botswana athletes to claim a gold medal in front of the large home crowd gathered for the event (the other one being Karabo Sibanda in the 400m). Thebe started the Games with a bronze medal in the 100m (10.65) before producing an amazing effort in the 200m that saw him claim gold and achieve his first sub-21 time (20.85 a national junior record – note: Gaborone’s elevation is around 1000m).
This great performance opened him the doors for the two major international events of the year in younger age categories. Thebe first travelled to Eugene for the World Junior Championships at the end of July. He was a semi-finalist in the 200m in 21.28 and also competed in the 4x100m relay (where Botswana didn’t advance from the heats) and in the 4x400m event, where Botswana ended up being disqualified for stepping outside the lane in the final).
He then clinched his first laurels in the 200m at the World Youth Olympic Games, in Nanjing, China. After clocking 20.99 in the heats, he crossed the line in third place in 21.20 in the final, but was upgraded to silver due to the disqualification of Jamaica’s Chad Walker. Thebe’s silver medal in the 200m, as well as Karabo Sibanda’s silver in the 400m, brought lot of attention on the two youngsters back home in Botswana. In December 2014, Thebe was part of Botswana’s team that competed in the Southern Africa Under 20 Games in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and brought home a silver medal in the 200m (21.22w). In May 2015, Thebe was honoured as Botswana National Sports Council Junior Male Sportsperson of the Year.
In 2015, Thebe started the season with the African Junior Championships in Addis-Ababa in March, but pulled out of the competition after the 100m heats (11.06/-3.9). Two months and a half later, on 23 May, he set new national junior records in the 100m (10.29) and the 200m (20.59) at the Sportsview meet in Gaborone. The following week-end he claimed both sprint titles at Botswana’s national championships (in 10.50 and 20.68 after setting a new PB of 20.56 in the heats).
In June, he competed in the Southern Region Senior Championships in Mauritius, where he placed third in the 100m in 10.44 and helped Botswana win the 4x100m. In July, he took part to the Warri Relays in Nigeria where he clocked 10.50 in the 100m. Struggling with injuries since the start of the year, he then put an end to his season and missed the All-Africa Games in September in Brazzaville. In December, he took part in the Botswana Games, where he won the 100m in 10.72 (after clocking 10.52 in the heats) and the 200m in 21.26.
At the end of the season, his coach suggested that Thebe drop the 100m to reduce the chance of his injury coming back and focus on a 200m/400m preparation instead. This worried the athlete at first, because he did not consider himself to be a natural 400m runner. But the short sprint specialist pulled a big surprise for his season debut in 2016, when he took part in the 400m at the Private Tertiary Institutions Association Championships on 5 March. Not only did he cross the finish line first (45.23), ahead of more established athletes like Isaac Makwala (45.58) and Karabo Sibanda (46.32), he had also achieved the Olympic standard for his competitive debut over the distance.
Over the following month he carried on his preparation with 100m and 200m races in South Africa and Mauritius, recording 10.65/20.91 in Potchefstroom on 15 March and 10.36/21.00 in Mauritius on 2 April. He competed in his second 400m on 10 April in Gaborone, winning again, in 45.38. He was thus selected to compete in Botswana’s team that won the 4x400m race in 3:02.29 at the Doha Diamond League on 6 May. But the name of Baboloki Thebe was still an unknown quantity abroad at that time, as results from Botswana do not get much publicity outside the country.
The young Thebe made a splash both domestically and internationally at the national championships on 21-22 May in Gaborone, when he shattered his 400m personal best with a time of 44.22, that was not only a new African junior record, but also made him the second fastest junior ever on the distance behind American Steve Lewis (43.87 in 1988). The following day he recorded another impressive performance with an Olympic qualifier in the 200m (20.21).
His name crossed the borders this time and he received an invitation to make his individual Diamond League debut in Birmingham on 5 June. Competing against Olympic champion Kirani James, a dream come true, he finished sixth in 45.54.
The attention then shifted to the African Championships, in Durban, where the trio from Botswana (Makwala, Thebe and Sibanda) was deemed favourites for the podium in the absence of reigning World champion Wayde van Niekerk, who preferred to focus on the 200m. But there was a question mark over who would prevail in the clash of generations. While Isaac Makwala admitted that the long wait between the warm-up and the race took its toll, as he faded to fourth in the final, Thebe was unfazed and produced his fastest time at sea-level (44.69) to claim the senior continental title ahead of training partner Sibanda (45.42). He later increased his tally with a second gold medal, contributing to team Botswana’s victory in the 4x400m relay.
Just the day after being crowned African champion, Thebe got received another piece of good news: he was awarded the Junior Sportsman of the Year title at the inaugural African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 awards that were held in Johannesburg on 25 June.
The next priority for Thebe, still a junior, was to fare well at the IAAF World U20 Championships, in Bydgoszcz in July, before switching his attention to the bigger stage of the Olympics. He was the resounding favourite for the individual title in Poland, but that was not to be, as he was disqualified in the semi-finals for a lane infringement after dominating his race in 44.67. He subsequently made a huge impression in the 4x400m, running the second leg in a stunning 43.5 split to help Botswana clinch a silver medal in 3:02.81 (a new African junior record).
Without the U20 title, but having learnt his lesson, the youngster will be heading to Rio, looking to seal his place in the 400m world elite. He is also keen to excel in the 4x400m where Botswana – with Isaac Makwala, Karabo Sibanda and Nijel Amos on the roster – could feature prominently in the final.
100m: 10.29 NJR (2015)
200m: 20.21 NJR (2016)
400m: 44.22 AJR (2016)
200m – 2014: 20.85A NJR; 2015: 20.56A NJR; 2016: 20.21A NJR
400m – 2016: 44.22A AJR
2014 3rd African Youth Games, Gaborone – 100m (10.65A)
2014 1st African Youth Games, Gaborone – 200m (20.85A)
2014 sf World Junior Championships, Eugene – 200m (21.28)
2014 heats World Junior Championships, Eugene – 4x100m (40.53)
2014 heats World Junior Championships, Eugene – 4x400m (3:07.80)
2014 2nd Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing – 200m (21.20)
2015 heats African Junior Championships, Addis Ababa – 100m (11.06A)
2015 3rd Southern Africa Senior Championships, Mauritius – 100m (10.44)
2015 1st Southern Africa Senior Championships, Mauritius – 4x100m
2016 1st African Championships, Durban – 400m (44.69)
2016 7th African Championships, Durban – 4x100m (40.40)
2016 1st African Championships, Durban – 4x400m (3:02.20)
2016 sf World U20 Championships, Bydgoszcz – 400m DQ
2016 heats World U20 Championships, Bydgoszcz – 4x100m (40.41)
2016 2nd World U20 Championships, Bydgoszcz – 4x400m (3:02.81)
Prepared by Carole Fuchs for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2016