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Jele loses Olympic Scholarship

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Local middle distance runner Lydia Jele is currently under provisional suspension from all athletics activities. This comes after the 400m runners allegedly tested positive for banned substances late last year. Speaking during a media briefing earlier this week, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho said investigations are still ongoing and they are yet to hear from the relevant anti- doping authorities. “BNOC awaits the analytical findings and the final decision of authorities to determine the future of the promising female athlete,” Serufho said. Should Jele be found guilty, she is likely to be banned from competing in athletics for a period not less than four years.

Moreover, Jele is most likely to miss out on a lifetime opportunity if she is banned from athletics. The Olympian forms part of the nine athletes that were given the Olympic Solidarity scholarship for the 2017-2020 period. According to Serufho, the athlete will be withdrawn from the scholarship because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not sponsor athletes with current or previous doping cases. Meanwhile BAA spokesperson Ikgopoleng Ramatshaba said they will only contact Jele after the World Anti -Doping Agency (WADA) makes a ruling on her case.

As far as he was aware, the athlete is somewhere in the city doing nothing. On the other hand, Africa Zone 6 Regional Anti- Doping Organisation regional manager Andrew Kamanga is not a happy following the rise of the doping cases in the country. Kamanga said it is sad because they have left no stone unturned in educating athletes and sensitizing them about all banned substances. “It is not lack of trying on our side, we do everything in our power to educate them, we even gave them a list of all the prohibited substances,” he said.He said Botswana has been having unexpected mixed fortunes lately. Top athletes who they least expected would fall victim to doping have fallen into the trap one way or the other.

Kamanga sympathised with Jele saying she was at the peak of her career only for everything to come crumbling down when she least expected it. Kamanga is worried that should the situation remain the same, young and upcoming athletes might also find it hard to stay away from banned substances. The regional manager went on to say national associations should reinforce measures and rise to the occasion. “Doping is very serious and disturbing issue; we need associations to start taking it seriously. Majority of associations locally have no personnel dealing with anti-doping matters yet when athletes test positive we get shocked,” Kamanga said. He advised that Botswana should start testing athletes more often to prevent future surprises.

“From the little funds received from Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), associations should prioritise and reserve some for doping tests. One would be shocked as to how many doping cases we can find before athletes are caught at international level.”

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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