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BCF revels in lap of success

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The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) calendar is undoubtedly imprinted in the country’s sports arena following a successful 2015 season.

“We have successfully handed the calendar for the year 2015 and we are happy to report that it was a huge success,” said BCF president Tshenolo Maruatona at the association’s Annual General Meeting in Tlokweng over the weekend. Addressing BCF affiliates, an elated Maruatona said, “Our calendar catered for various stakeholder groups and this has seen the federation hold events almost every weekend.”

“The Metropolitan chess championships and the Debswana Botswana Open remain the biggest tournaments in our chess calendar. In the year 2015, we have seen successful execution of these events.” Maruatona said the level of play and competitiveness has improved drastically and the BCF continues to unearth new talent in the country through such events.

“The Botswana Chess Open championships continue to attract players from the neighbouring African countries. This has gone a long way in inspiring our local players to raise the bar in defending the pride of the country”. Moreover, Maruatona said Botswana Chess continues to compete in a number of events in Africa and the rest of the world, adding that this is key in measuring themselves against international competition.

On the chess administration front, Maruatona said they continue to recognise the importance of building capacity amongst the personnel. “I am happy to point out that we have seen an increase in the number of officials who have been accorded recognition mostly by the world chess body.” Maruatona said the association held an Arbiters’ training Seminar last year where 17 of its locals were awarded Arbiter norms. “This number adds to other existing arbiters that the federation has trained over the past years.”

“I wish to point out that there is still a lot that needs to be done in increasing the numbers of fide trained arbiters in Botswana. We are cognisant of the financial constraints of hiring a FIDE accredited trainer to run the courses locally, but it remains our resolute endeavour to find affordable ways of conducting the training sessions in Botswana.”

Over the past year Maruatona said they have seen keen interest by continental event organisers in engaging our local administrators to partake in their events. “Notably Tshepiso Lopang and Vincent Masole have been actively involved in a number of events around Africa as arbiters. On the follow up, Mr Masole will be an arbiter at this year’s chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.”

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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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