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Wheelchair basketball tourney for Gabs

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The Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) Disability Committee in conjunction with the University of Botswana will on the 25th November host the 2017 Malebogo “Max” wheelchair basketball tournament at the University of Botswana Basketball Courts. The wheel chair basketball tournament aims at raising awareness on Gender Based Violence during the commemorative 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence on Women and Children.

The participating teams are Diamond Wheelers Basketball team and South East District Disability Sports Association, the sponsors and the media team. The games are expected to start from 4pm until 9pm. During a media briefing held in Gaborone yesterday, Malebogo Molefhe said as a victim of Gender based violence, they want to use basketball as a tool for raising awareness on issues of domestic violence in the country. Molefhe who escaped death in 2009 after her boyfriend shot her 8 times said she was once a national basketball player, however since her tragic incident, she has been using a wheelchair due to her spinal cord injuries.

Through the tournament, she is determined to eliminate all forms of violence against women and children in Botswana by spreading the message through sport. The tournament will also strive to encourage active participation in sports for students and communities including those living with disabilities. “Wheelchair Basketball is not visible in Botswana and it is our hope that this tournament will expose it to the community and inspire other people with disabilities to engage in sports,” she said. On behalf of the BBA Disability Committee, the chairperson, Lesley Baleseng said there will be stalls at the courts from 1600hrs where people will get to interact with one another, get advice and share experiences on how to do away with issues of gender based violence on women and children.

Baleseng said there will be sign language interpretations for deaf people on the day saying they take pride in hosting sports events that empower people living with disabilities. He pleaded with the community to support the event in large numbers. “We need the community to support those living with disabilities rather them discriminating and isolating them, if we do that then we are off to good beginnings,” he said.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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