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Sarona Hans – Unstoppable netball champion and future pilot

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Hans is a keen netball player with trophies and medals brimming from her drawers. At 21 years, she has already achieved feats that have taken others many years to fulfill. At 17, she was already playing netball for Notwane team, and basketball for the BDF side.

Born and raised in Gaborone but originally from Karakubis village in the Ghanzi district, Hans realised her passion for sport when she was still a learner at Legae primary school. She played basketball and softball at school, and was introduced to netball by her mother, Lucy Hans, who interestingly also has a colourful and impressive record as a former national team netball player.

Hans used to tag along to the Notwane courts with her mother for practice sessions, and soon enough, the then ‘pekenene’, learnt how to grab, hold and throw a ball. Add to that her agile sprint on her long legs, and a gem had been unearthed. Her mother’s teammates and coach soon noticed the young Hans’ talent and encouraged her mother to give her break into the sport.

She then started playing for the Notwane junior team, and the rest, as is often said, is history. Hans soon realised that her sport engagements clash, and after some mulling over, she decided to stick with netball. “I chose netball because it has a higher ranking and nationally, the team does well. It was important for me to travel and exert my sporting talents through challenging myself; netball accorded me that opportunity.”

By the time she was doing her secondary education at St Josephs’ Secondary School, Hans was already a promising netball player commanding a national team spot. Some of her memorable achievements include being captain of the netball national Under-17 team twice, being captain of the Under-21 team, and what’s more she boasts 18 caps! She also enjoyed a stint playing for the Singapore Under-21 team in 2014.

Hans was recently awarded a scholarship to study aviation (commercial pilot license) at Griffith University in Australia. She will be flying out of the country in a few weeks’ time, but she is not lost to Botswana. She has been selected to be part of the team which will represent the country at the World Netball Championship to be held in Botswana next year. Hans cannot contain her excitement over the netball championships coming to Botswana.

“It will not only be an opportunity to put Botswana on the map as a tourist destination, but will offer Batswana an opportunity to see the best of the netball champion teams from across the world. It’s a great feat for our sporting fraternity and nation as a whole and the perfect opportunity for aspirant netball players, and those who enjoy it to experience the best of the sport.”

Hans would like to see more young women taking to sports long-term, citing that being physically active and involving in sporting activities doesn’t only keep the body trim and fit, but also contributes to a healthy mental state, enhances self-esteem, improves social skills and keeps one busy, leaving little time to dabble in undesirable activities.

When she’s not playing netball, Hans enjoys relaxing at home, and occasionally goes out for swimming and to the cinema with her friends.

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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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