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Development key to DTCB club success

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The secret behind the weekend’s sweepstake by the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) boxing team at the weekend’s boxing tournament has been revealed. The decorated club continued its onslaught on the local amateur boxing landscape after winning the 2015 edition of the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) National Championships staged from Saturday to Sunday in Gaborone.

With a total of five gold medals up for grabs for the competing teams, the DTCB stable managed to walk away with all of them, something for which the club’s headcoach Thebe Setlalekgosi could not hide his excitement. He raved about how the club’s consistency over the past three years had been backed up by their deliberate decision to focus on the grassroots. “We started a development program where we adopted schools and trained Form One students back in 2009. By 2012 the boxers started to mature,” Setlalekgosi told Sun Sports.

Since 2012, the club has been winning the national championships or finishing as runners up to the likes of Tsholofelo Boxing Club. “In most cases we were tied on   points and Tsholofelo would beat us with medal count. In the past three years we won the championship twice in 2012 and 2015,” he said.
Setlalekgosi referred to the development program as one of the best in the country given that DTCB club boxers make up about 50 percent of the current national team.  

The boxers that won gold medals for DTCB at the finals in Gaborone on Sunday include Kabelo Bagwasi (60kg), Marshall Mokgwaela (49kg), Kagiso Bagwasi (64kg), Kutlwano Ogaketse (56kg) and Thabang Motsewabeng (81kg). In addition, Setlalekgosi said his team consisted of predominantly young athletes between the ages of 18 to 23 years. Added Setlalekgosi, “Some of the schools we have adopted include Gaborone Secondary School where we train. We are also affiliated to junior secondary schools like Tlogatloga and Maikano.”

Setlalekgosi revealed that other boxing clubs like BMC, Tsholofelo and Mafika have similar development programs, an undertaking he glorified although he also lamented the lack of such development programs at well-resourced military based clubs.

Although the resources they have could assist in proper development of athletes, military clubs only wait for practising boxers to join the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) before they can absorb them into their programs. However, Setlalekgosi expressed delight that the Sunday tournament was well organised.

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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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