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Barefoot Runner quits over scotching heat

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The legend of the barefoot runner, Kaelo Mosalagae, might have come to an abrupt end at the weekend’s Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) cross country finals held in Gaborone.

The eagerly anticipated 10km race saw the 35 years old barefoot runner drop out 20 minutes into the race due to the El Niño fuelled scotching heat before a decent   number of marathon supporters. Besides the heat that proved too much for his ‘no running shoes’ policy, the   dominant veteran also had to contend with sharp stones that form part of the character of the hilly race course next to Riverwalk shopping mall.

As supporters were preparing themselves for a fantastic climax sprint to the finish line that usually includes Mosalagae and bitter rivals Sesebo Matlapeng and Shepherd Kenatshele, the barefoot runner was suddenly nowhere to be seen.

“I have never competed in this sort of heat before, it was simply too hot for me,” Mosalagae said after some junior and female competitors were left incapacitated by the heat. “I cannot say much I was lacking something today. I will be back in the next events.”

Meanwhile there could have been more to Mosalagae’s early demise than the heat during the intense race. It later emerged that the 2016 BAA cross-country champion Shepherd Kenatshele came to the race with a chip on his shoulder following earlier trash talk and mind games by Mosalagae.

“I cannot say much about the race. Mosalagae called for a rematch. At the last series race before the finals in Kopong he said I beat him by mistake,” said the dominant Kenatshele. The new force in cross country Marathons clearly sent a message to his rivals before challenging rival Mosalagae to record better race times if he claims to be the best.  

Kenatshele, who represents SSKB Athletics club, won the race in style after sheer dominance from the first whistle. “I am not even a cross country runner. I am naturally an 800m runner. I just compete in this race because it helps me with endurance and speed.” Kenatshele harbours ambitions to compete at Olympic Games.

He castigated local sporting authorities for overlooking him during international assignments for weaker runners. Kenatshele is expected to compete at the inter-military games scheduled for Molepolole later this month.

Meanwhile, dominant female runner Onneilwe Dintwe won the senior women’s 10 km in what came as no surprise. “I am happy with my time of 35min 20sec.  Even though I had hoped for a sub 34 min time,” she said.

Dintwe will compete at the 2016 Gaborone Diacore half marathon in April before going on to compete at the international Durban marathon in South Africa in May.

After the race, BAA president Moses Bantsi said they will now select a team with a minimum of six athletes who will represent the country at the Africa cross country championships in Yaounde, Cameroon on 26th March.

“We will select from both senior and juniors. All categories have generally done well during the race. The guy who won the men’s race showed a lot of improvement given that this was a rather tough course,” Bantsi said.

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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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