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You can do it

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President Dr Ian Khama has cautioned Team Botswana against doping tendencies ahead of the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Amidst international uproar and controversy over doping in the international sporting arena, Khama urged Olympics bound athletes to resist the temptation to use performance enhancing drugs, as this will tarnish the good name of the country. The President was addressing the Team Botswana sending off ceremony at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on Monday. 

“You are going to Rio at a time when globally the world is riddled by reports of doping. Athletes who are sometimes assisted by coaches and other support personnel to enhance performance perpetrate this doping. That is cheating and we as Batswana abhor this and it cannot be tolerated. I appeal to all of you to play clean sport and preserve the good name of our country.” In addition, Khama advised athletes that government will not tolerate enhanced performance by local sports men and women. The President made it clear that athletes and officials who will intricate themselves in doping will be suspended accordingly. He said that athletes would not be suspended in a collective form.

“Our position as Government and indeed, Botswana sport is very clear and again, I wish to reiterate, we will not tolerate doping. We agree to the suspension of only those athletes, officials and anyone in authority who have been involved in doping not to ban all the country’s athletes, in the form of collective punishment.” Moreover Khama said cheating in sports is unfair, unjust, unethical and undemocratic as it violates the very principle of participation by world sportsmen and women.

“As you head to Rio, remember that the Olympic movement is premised on the values of excellence, friendship and respect. I will like to add that our very own values of Botho, which defines us as a people and sets us apart from other nations, is also key for you as our Ambassadors in this regard. I therefore call upon each one of you to live up to these values, give your best on the field of play, compete fairly and make friends while you are there.”

Khama also expressed his utmost confidence in local athletes and implored them to strive and compete to the best of their abilities as the hopes of 2million people lie with them. “The national flag affirms the country’s representation at Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The flag carries with it dreams and aspirations of Batswana, and we hope you will hoist it high in Brazil. We all have confidence in your ability to compete and be the very best you can be, we will support you all the way.”

“We will be watching you on television and when you step into the field, know that your parents, relatives and all Batswana are behind you.” Meanwhile Team Botswana is represented by strong athletes such as Isaac Makwala, Nijel Amos, Lydia Jele, Christine Botlogetswe, Baboloki Thebe, Karabo Sibanda, Boitumelo Masilo, Onkabetse Nkobolo, Naomi Ruele, Kevin Bogopa and David van der Colff.

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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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