Botswana’s first Olympics Finalist

Glody Dube was the first Motswana to reach the finals of the Olympics. He achieved this at the 2000 Summer Olympics, which were held in Sydney, Australia. Glody was Botswana middle distance runner, who specialized in 800 metres. The Summer Olympic Games are a major international multi-sport event. Competing in these games is almost every athlete's dream and requires consistency in training and massive amounts of determination.

The games are held once every four years. Through his achievements, Glody is an inspiration to upcoming and younger athletes. When he competed at the Sydney 2000, Australia Summer Olympic Games, he had just completed his Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) at Maun Senior Secondary School.

He was under the tutelage of Coach Adam Letham, who was also his mentor. Other events that he has competed at include, the 1997 African Junior Championships, 1998 Commonwealth Games, 1999 World Indoor Championships, 1999 World Championships, 1999 All-Africa Games, 2001 World Indoor Championships, 2001 World Championships, 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2003 World Indoor Championships, 2003 World Championships, 2004 Olympic Games and 2007 All-Africa Games.

As young crop of Botswana athletes partake at the international stage, drawing from his experience and international exposure, the former 800 metres runner has provided some insights on how the country could achieve worthwhile growth and retention of this talent in sport. While Glody was the first Motswana to turn professional and earn a living through athletics, he indicates that during his days as an active athlete, there were not many incentives in comparison to today’s, and he believes that these incentives, which include housing rewards by the government through the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, in collaboration with the Botswana National Sport Commission and the Botswana National Olympic Committee, will serve as motivation for athletes.

Glody also adds that, during his days there was not much awareness about sport and its importance, as such, most parents encouraged their children to choose teaching, nursing or being a soldier as professions. He guides that the amount of awareness and the achievements of today’s younger athletes will lead to parents’ comfortability allowing kids to take part in sport and choosing sport as a career.

The country registered some historic milestones in the past days and weeks at different sporting events internationally, with the Commonwealth Games being the most recent event where history was made through Lethabo Modukanele of boxing, who has become Botswana’s first female boxer to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Lethabo won a bronze medal in the 48Kg category of the games. In the past weeks, we also witnessed Letsile Tebogo and Collen Kebinatshipi of athletics making history by becoming the youngest athletes from Botswana to compete at the 22nd African Athletics Championships, while Neo Phatsima registered herself in the history books as the youngest athlete to represent Botswana at the Commonwealth Games, and one of the first squash female athletes to compete at the level of the Commonwealth Games.

Letsile Tebogo recorded another historic moment for the country, by becoming the youngest athlete to represent the country at the World Athletics Championships and breaking world record. Glody emphasizes the importance of all sporting disciplines taking advantage of the current momentum to creatively spread, educate and demonstrate the importance of sport to parents around the country. Parental support and involvement plays a key role in sport as it positively influences children’s sporting experience.

Glody also stresses on the significance of building a larger pool or base of athletes to choose from and feed structures as athletes upgrade from one stage to another. He gives examples of grassroots development programs like the Debswana sponsored Re Ba Bona Ha program and School Sport as some of the important initiatives that help build a pool.

Glody Dube, who is a family man and a well-established entrepreneur, is now a retired athlete who serves the country as a teacher, and founder of the Gaborone International Meet, an international athletics event, endorsed by World Athletics.