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Cycling pursues corporate sponsorship

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The newly-elected Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) president, Mmetla Masire, has called on the business community to invest in the association’s activities.

In  a recent interview,  Masire said the BCA is one of the most organised sport codes based on the number of recent competitions they have organised. He described cycling as a relatively clean code that the business community can associate with. “Cycling has not been in the news for wrong reasons.” Masire was re-elected to the BCA presidency, which will see him holding the fort for the next three years. This follows the BCA’s new constitution, which replaced the old one, which gave the executive committee only a year in office.

Masire took over from Kagiso Potongwane three years ago and his mandate will be to grow the BCA’s sponsorship. In the past, the BCA had struggled with sponsorship like many other local sport codes. However, things have recently taken a turn for the better due to a surge of interest in cycling activities. Cycling has recently become one of the busiest sporting codes in the country. However, it has affiliate clubs like Tsela Riders that have enjoyed most sponsorship as compared to the association.

Companies like Mascom Wireless, Germ Diamond and World Group of Companies have been sponsoring cycling clubs. Masire praised the clubs for acquiring sponsorship. He said the association could also benefit if sponsors came forward. “This would allow us to send more cyclists to international competitions as opposed to the past years.”

Besides sponsorship growth he said they would be focusing on the implementation of youth structures in an effort to unearth future stars. In their previous term, Masire together with his committee members that included Tlamelo Dube, Tefo Monareng, Karabo Rasenyai, Jeremiah Kokwane and Anouk Van De Geest took the cycling community to international levels and rekindled love in cycling sport. This was proved in recent years when Botswana produced five level 1 qualified UCI coaches and two UCI level 2 qualified coaches.

BCA started its first grand participation in international competitions in 2014 when they participated in Africa Youth Games, which were held in Gaborone. Last year they sent four of their promising talents – Sethomo Masebe, Bakang Ebudilwe, James Masimo and Abueng Malete to the World Cycling Centre to prepare for the All Africa Games which were held in Congo Brazzaville. This year in the history of cycling sport in Africa, Botswana is ranked 7th in UCI ranking after a splendid performance in the recent mountain biking continental Championships in Lesotho.

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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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