Woman Grandmaster Tuduetso Sabure from Botswana and International Master Gilian Bwayla of Zambia are winners of the 2016 Botswana International Open Chess Championships held over the independence holidays in Gaborone.
Sabure won the ladies section with eight points while Bwayla won the prestige section with seven points. Bwayla won with the same points as Simotowe Musatwe of Zambia and Phemelo Kheto of Botswana, the game headed for tie-breaks that landed Kheto in third position.
Team Botswana fought their way elegantly in the competition and dominated most top ten positions in both sections. Position two in the ladies section also went to Zambia while the defending champion from last year ‘s competition, Woman International Master Boikhutso Modongo finished in position five.
The other players who thrilled during the competition include Tefo Philime who won the youth section, Candidate Master Besa Masaiti was crowned the overall best girl performer while Arnold Mothudi won the open section.
The event was sponsored by Debswana Diamond Company at the tune of P150 000 and attracted a total of 167 players from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Speaking in a brief interview this week, BCF Public Relations Officer Keenese Katisenge said the competition went very well saying that even the visitors enjoyed their stay and were impressed with the level of organisation.
Katisenge said she was even more impressed by the players’ performance. “They fought very hard and represented the country well as hosts.”
Speaking previously at the sponsorship launch, President of Botswana Chess Federation (BCF), Tshenolo Maruatona said they have been holding hands with Debswana for over five years and each year the value of their sponsorship keeps growing.
He said that the initial sponsorship stood at P40 000 and currently Debswana has doubled the prize. “I believe this International open championships event has grown tremendously over the years and it has even attracted major attention like any other prestigious local events,” he explained.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.
Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.
“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.
Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.
“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.
Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.
“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.
Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe. No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.
Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.
However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”
Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.
However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.