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Sibanda shines at BNSC Awards

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The young, sensational sprinter, Karabo Sibanda emerged P70 000 richer after scooping the prestigious Sportsperson of the Year and the Junior Male awards at the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) ceremony held on Saturday night at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).

“I did not expect this award and I am overwhelmed to have managed to win an award of this magnitude against the best athletes of the country and the world at large,” said the jubilant Sibanda.

Sibanda managed to beat Khaya Groth of Karate and James Freeman of swimming to the junior male award. The Commonwealth junior championship gold medalist said he was not intimidated by any opponent that he is pitted against, “I understand that the Olympics might seem like a more advanced stage for me but I don’t doubt myself. My mindset always tells me I am the best and I give my best ability in every performance and so far that has worked wonders for me. I do not burden myself about Carron James, LeSean Merit or Isaac Makwala, I just focus on myself,”

The African junior championships gold medalist proclaims that he managed to qualify for the Olympics with a first degree torn hamstring injury, which he is still nursing it to date. The talented Sibanda went on to promise that the awards will only boost his confidence and will not divert him to something adverse, “I will remain the same Karabo Sibanda I was before winning both this awards,”

Sibanda’s coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe, who on the day also celebrated the Coach of the year award, said he would maintain the youngster’s discipline and self-restraint. “I have been with him for a longer time and I have a good relationship with his parents, so he listens to me. I told him fame will come with drama alongside, I again told him winning should not dwell in his mind so much that he looks down upon other people because that will derail him,”
He further gave assurance that Sibanda’s injury was not bad.

Other winners were Naomi Ruele who won the junior female sports person of the year, Lame Hetanang scooped the Sports Woman of the year award and Chairman’s award respectively. The sportsman of the year went to Zidane Chikanda of Boxing, Coach of the year went to Mogomotsi Otsetswe while Roslyn Tebele walked away with the Sports administrator and Mpho Bakwadi was the referee of the year.

Giving his remarks at the ceremony the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Honorable Thapelo Olopeng said winning medals at major events is always a product of hard work dedication and commitment by the athletes, technical teams, sport governing bodies, sponsors and Government. “There are other relevant stakeholders including most importantly the fans who throng the stadia to support wholeheartedly the engagement of their teams and athletes in competitive and friendly events,” he says.

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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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