Amantle Montsho is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Botswana, making her third appearance at the Games, where she figures to contend for gold in the women's 400m. After a number of late-season swoons in her career, Montsho put together a complete season in 2011, culminating with her first world title.

During 2011, Amantle Montsho set out to establish that she could carry her fitness into the latter stages of the season. After opening the season with runner-up finishes at the Diamond League meets in Doha and Rome, Montsho has ripped off five consecutive victories in Eugene, Oslo, Lausanne, Birmingham and Monaco, lowering her PB to 49.71 at the latter. Then at the World Championships in Daegu, she cruised through the heats and held off American Allyson Felix to win the gold in 49.56. She closed out the season with victories at the All-Africa Games and the Diamond League meet in Brussels.

Montsho's failures on the big stage in 2008 and 2009 earned her a reputation for being an early-season racer. Her 2010 season did little to dispel that notion. The 2010 outdoor season got off to a cracking start with five victories in her first eight races and runner-up finishes to Allyson Felix in two of the other three. In July, she ran 50.07 in Lausanne and successfully defended her African title with a 50.03 at altitude in Nairobi. But then things slowed considerably and Montsho settled for a fifth-place finish in Stockholm and fourth in London to fall out of a tie with Felix for the lead in the Diamond League 400m standings. In the finale in Zurich, Felix finished first to Montsho's third to claim the season title.

Montsho's 2009 outdoor season began very much like the previous one. After three international training camps and a rare appearance at a home meet - she won the 200m in 24.01 and the 400m in 51.88 - she hit the European circuit with success, scoring top-three finishes at the Golden League meets in Berlin (50.94), Oslo (50.71) and Paris (50.61). But once again at the biggest meet of the year, the world Championships in Berlin, Montsho came up short. She run 49.89 in the semifinals to qualify second, but then finished last in the final running 50.65.

Montsho's start to the 2008 outdoor season was quite promising. She captured the world's attention in May when she ran a blistering 49.83 at the African Championships in Addis Ababa. That performance earned her invitations to many top international meets, where she performed consistently well in all of them. In succession she finished seventh in Doha in 51.87, first in Dakar in 51.00, third in Milan in 51.23, fourth in Rome in 51.17, and fifth in Stockholm in 51.46. In the process she over-raced. At the Olympics in Beijing, she ran 50.91 in the opening round and 50.54 in the semis to earn her country's first berth into an Olympic final. But by then, she had nothing left in the tank and finished last in 51.18.

Prior to 2008, Montsho had never run a race indoors. Her coaches at the Dakar High Performance Training Center had planned for an early-season indoor tour of Europe but those plans fell through and left Montsho ill-prepared for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia. After winning her opening heat in 52.96, she couldn't advance to the final, finishing fifth in her semifinal in 53.21.

The 2007 season saw Montsho reach another milestone - her first sub-52-second quarter. At the meet in Brazzaville, she finished fifth in 51.88. Later that summer at the All-Africa Games in Algiers, Montsho capitalized on the absence of the Senegalese squad and beat the heavily favored Nigerians to win Botswana's first ever gold. She lowered her personal-best to 51.54 in the semifinals and 51.13 in the final. It was all good preparation for the World Championships in Osaka, where Montsho finished fourth in her semifinal in 50.90, her fourth personal-best and national record of the year.

In 2005, Montsho was one of four athletes from Botswana sent to Germany for the summer to prepare for the World Championships in Helsinki. The stepped-up level of competition pushed her to faster times than she ever ran before. In June, she lowered her PB by more than a second, clocking 53.51, in Celle Ligure. Three weeks later, she improved to 52.59 in Oordegem. But things turned sour from there. At Worlds, she managed just a 53.97 in a seventh-place finish in her opening round heat. A few weeks later, fire gutted her home in Mabudutsa and she lost all her belongings except the clothes she was wearing.

n 2004, Montsho was spotted during a recruiting tour by Anthony Koffi, the sprints coach at the Dakar High Performance Training Center. Her name was submitted to the selection committee but another year would go by before she would join the center. Nevertheless, the year served as a major coming out party for Montsho. She broke both the 200m and 400m national records, clocking 24.82 at altitude, in Windhoek, in May; 53.9 at the national championships in June; 54.06 at the African Championships, in Brazzaville, in July; and 53.77 at the Olympics in Athens in August, where she became the first female athlete from Botswana ever to compete at the Games.

Montsho eventually switched to the 400m full time. In May 2003, she won the national title with a personal-best of 55.03. After winning the Southern Region championship two months later, Montsho made her first appearance at the All-Africa Games, finishing fourth in her heat in 55.06.

Montsho was born in Mabudutsa, in the far north of Botswana. She started to attract attention for her running during her schooldays at Maun's Tshwaragano Community Junior Secondary School. Following her 100m and 200m victories at the northern region championships, Montsho was selected to compete at the school national finals, winning a silver medal in the 100m, bronze in the 200m, and gold with the 4x100m relay team. The following year she won school titles in the 100m and 4x100m and was Botswana champion in the 200m in 26.00. That victory earned her selection to the team for the Southern African School Championships, a meet her coaches asked her to try the 400m in. She wound up winning bronze.


How tall is she? How old is she? Where does she live? Find out here.

Age: 34 years old
Birthday: July 4, 1983
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 141 lbs.
Birthplace: Mabudutsa, Botswana
Current Residence: Dakar, Senegal

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