The 2022 Sportsman of the Year nominee for the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Sports Awards, Tshwanelo Aabobe, aspires to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France. Having experienced a difficult year of injuries and contracting COVID-19 that took him out for two months, Aabobe remains resolute in competing at the highest level.
In 2022, he won the 2022 Central Gauteng Championships in the long jump and took gold and silver medals at the 2022 University Sport South Africa (USSA) championships in high and long jumps. He came short in the CAA Senior African Athletics Championships in Mauritius, finishing in 4th position in the men’s high jump when he represented Botswana.
Aabobe started his athletics journey in 2007. He competed for the first time in the 2009 Confederation of School Sport Association of Southern Africa Championship (COSSASA) games Under17 championships, finishing 4th place. The COSSASA games are part of the schools programme for the Southern African Development Communities (SADC) in countries like Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mauritius, Angola, and Zambia. They include the Under 13, 15 and 17 girls and boys who participate in different sporting codes.
He grew up in various parts of Botswana, spending most of his life in Tlokweng, a village on the outskirts of the capital city Gaborone. He was part of Jwaneng Athletics from 2010 to 2014 before joining the University of Botswana Athletics in 2015 and later the UJ Athletics in 2019.
“It means a lot to be part of UJ Athletics. We are a very huge and tight family here. The support we have for each other keeps us extra motivated to work even harder,” says Aabobe.
He is a student at UJ, enrolled in Advanced Diploma in Transport Management, and a triple, high and long jumper. Winning a bronze medal at the 2011 African Junior Championships is, he says, his career highlight.
Currently, Aabobe is planning ahead; “My aspirations are to be included in the 2023 World Championships squad and qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games.”