Botswana Came Heartbreakingly Close to Winning a Medal in the Men’s 4×400 Relay

Tonight has been nothing short of extraordinary for African athletes in Rio.

Caster Semenya struck gold in the women’s 800m––making her the first black South African woman to win a gold medal in Olympic history. She was joined on the medal stand by Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui.

Kenyan athlete Julius Yego came away with a spectacular second-place finish in the men’s javelin despite an injury forcing him out of competition fairly early on.

And Mo Farah, Britain’s long-distance G.O.A.T., added a fourth gold medal to his historic career with a first-place finish in the men’s 5,000m.

Botswana’s 4x400m relay team came ridiculously close to adding to tonight’s list of accolades. Heading into the fourth leg of the relay, Team Botswana looked posed for a medal. It would have been their first of the Rio 2016 Games and their second in Olympic history (middle-distance runner Nijel Amos picked up Botswana’s first Olympic medal in London 2012 with a silver in the men’s 800m).

The runners were second for much of tonight’s race. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse in the final leg of the relay. Botswana remains medal-less in Rio.

Many are blaming the loss on the squad’s 4th runner, Gaone Maotoanong. The 25-year-old sprinter just couldn’t hold second. Botswana finished fifth with a time of 2:59.06. The U.S. walked away with gold, followed by Jamaica in second and the Bahamas in third.

And while the Twitter bashing has been pretty brutal, some are choosing to look on the bright side. Come 2020 Tokyo, Team Botswana will definitely be one to watch.

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