The long jump is not a popular sport code locally, but it is just a matter of time before Thapelo Monaiwa turns it into a household name as he continues to excel in the sport.SPORTSNATION staffer Katlego Mechidi writes.
- Thapelo Monaiwa recently qualified for the 2022 Africa Senior Championships and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games
- He started showing potential in 2016
- Monaiwa his name recognized at BOTESSA
THAPELO MONAIWA QUALIFIED FOR THE BIG GAMES
The talented long jumper’s career has undergone a remarkable transformation and has demonstrated his ability recently by making it to the 2022 Africa Senior championships as well as the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth games where he made it to the finals respectively.
He finished in position six at the Africa Senior championships and in LETSILE TEBOGO(18) IS THE NEXT USAIN BOLT the 12th position at the commonwealth games.
The University of Botswana’s star qualified for the games during the 4th Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) track and field series held at the national stadium after leaping to a personal best of 7.95m.
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MONAIWA JOINED ATHLETICS FOR FUN
In an interview with SPORTSNATION, Monaiwa articulated that he started doing sports back then at Modisaotsile Primary school where he was only doing it for fun running 100m and 400m, competing only during interschool competitions.
He stated that he tried long jump at Tsetsebye Junior Secondary School where he surprisingly became the best in school. Monaiwa started taking the long jump seriously after reaching the school sports nationals in 2014 in form three.He won his first gold medal during the BISA games in 2016 when doing form five at Goodhope Senior School which earned him national junior team selection.
From there Monaiwa continued long jump at the University of Botswana where he was a student-athlete where he achieved a lot under Botswana Tertiary Schools Sports Association (BOTESSA), Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association (CUCSA), Federation of International Schools Sports (FISU) and Federation of Africa University Sports (FASU).
During his time as a student-athlete, he attained two gold medals in the long jump in 2018 and 2019 respectively in BOTESSA competitions as well as a bronze in 100m in 2019.
He also became a gold medalist in 2018 during the CUCSA games in the long jump as well as a bronze medalist in the same year at the FASU games. Unfortunately, he was not able to make it to the finals at the 2019 FISU games held in Napoli, Italy.
The 24-year-old says the challenge he faced was that his parents were more supportive on the school side than on his athletics career and him being a student-athlete was also hard for him as he had to balance athletics with his studies.
After finishing his studies at the University of Botswana last year, Monaiwa is now focused on the long jump which saw him qualifying for the Africa Senior Championships and Commonwealth games and making it through the final respectively.
“Looking at my performances until now, I spent almost all my career as a student-athlete which is not an easy task, this was my first year focusing only on athletics which saw me qualifying for Africa Senior and qualifying for the finals, went to the Commonwealth games and again made it to the final”, narrated Monaiwa.
The Bobonong-born star revealed that since finishing school he is now more focused on fixing his technique to get longer jumps to qualify for bigger championships and scooping a medal on the big stage specifically in World athletics and the Olympics.
“All I can say is, since I finished school and started focusing on athletics more, I improved a lot and I am looking forward to qualifying for bigger championships, I only need to fix my techniques and I’m adamant I’ll be good to go”, lamented Monaiwa.
Looking at Monaiwa’s performances when he started, he used to jump around 5.08m which has now turned to 7.95m, he is now confident enough that he will jump beyond 8.00m now because he is no longer a student-athlete.
Monaiwa is a multi-talented athlete majoring also in 100m, he scooped a bronze medal during the national championships in 2021 after running 10.43s as well as representing the country in the 4X400m relay at the world relays in Poland last year which he regards as his biggest achievement in the event.
The star athlete lamented that he wants to defy the odds and qualify for both events in the bigger championships but should that be a hard nut to crack he will be delighted to be in the long jump lineup at the next Olympics games.
The multi-talented star is coached by Larona Koosimile in the long jump whereas coach Kebonyemodisa Mosimanyana mentors him in 100m.
The Bobonong-born star says it is not easy to compete in two events but revealed that he has found the balance explaining that his coaches’ training plans help him to give both of them enough time.