When local cyclists set paddles in the annual Bank Gaborone Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) National Championships, there will be more than just bragging rights at stake.
In a game changing deal, for the first time since inception, winners of the annual national championships will have cash incentives to go along with medals and national champion title bragging rights.
The development follows the arrival of Bank Gaborone as the title sponsor of the event. The bank has bankrolled the national championships to a tune of P173 000.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho said it came at an opportune time for local cycling.
With cycling part of the Olympics as well as the Commonwealth Games, the BNOC CEO said the arrival of Bank Gaborone ‘is not an exercise in futility.’ He described the advent of the sponsorship as ‘historic and exciting.’
He expressed hope that with the country having sent cyclists to the youth commonwealth games at Bahamas in July earlier this year, the arrival of the new sponsorship will grow the sport further.
For his part, BCA president Mmetla Masire said the acquisition of sponsorship is a step in the next direction for his BCA executive committee in it endeavours ‘to take cycling to another level.’
The BCA president said with cash incentives now on offer for winners, expectations is that the event will grow even bigger.
Masire said aside from bragging rights accorded to the winners, winning the national championships also puts riders ‘in a good stead to represent the country at international level.’
“This event, it must be remembered, is also a major contributor to the national team selections,” Masire explained.
Earlier when launching the sponsorship, Bank Gaborone Managing Director (MD) Sybrand Coetzee said his bank’s involvement in the sport was in alignment with Botswana’s agenda to do well in the international arena.
He said as Bank Gaborone, they believe in the development of sport to enhance the lives of Batswana. Coetzee highlighted that the winners of the national championships will represent the country at the Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, the Bank Gaborone MD says while they have signed a one year deal, the bank is open to extending the partnership in future. He however said this will be dependent on the success of the event.
The Bank Gaborone BCA National Championships will be hosted on the 5th of November next month.