The Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) will hold its inaugural cycling event this coming weekend. The championship will be graced by cyclists from all clubs affiliated to the BCA. The hosting of the event will mark a complete turnaround in the fortunes of the association after years out in the sporting wilderness. Though firstly affiliated with the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) in the 1990s, the association was later deregistered by the local sporting mother body due to mismanagement and financial irregularities. The de-affiliation side lined the BCA to many years in wilderness until local cyclists decided to regroup, finally getting the BCA to be re-affiliated with BNSC in 2009. Speaking in an interview, BCA’s Interim Chairman, Kagiso Potongwane hailed the hosting of the inaugural event as a show of how much the association has achieved since the BCA was re-affiliated.
Asked on what the association had been doing since its re-affiliation, the BCA Interim Chairman said during the past two years, the association had been trying to put its house in order, helping its affiliate to get organised while also trying to help form new clubs across the country. “Having achieved these, we now felt it is time to host our first major event as we seek to gain more recognition from the BNSC as well as promote cycling in the country,” Potongwane said. “This will also be used to usher in a new committee which we hope will soon be elected to take over from the interim committee that has been running the BCA since its re-affiliation to the BNSC,” the BCA Interim Chairperson added. On the actual National championship, the BCA Interim Chairman said the event will be done in three phases, with cyclists earning points to decide who will be crowned Botswana’s best cyclist.
“The first two events of the championship will be two road races while the third will be a mountain bike competition. We will start with a 14 km Road race time trial this coming Saturday at Rasesa. From there, we will proceed to Kopong the following day on Sunday for the 105 km Road Race event. The last event, which is the 70 km Mountain Bike event, will be held on the 24th of November at a venue yet to be confirmed,” the BCA Interim Chairperson explained. The BCA Interim Chairman said in all the three events, cyclists will be expected to accumulate points and the cyclist who has accrued the most points at the end of the three events will be crowned National Champion. Meanwhile, Potongwane said the inaugural event will have no title sponsors and will be sponsored by the BCA from its own coffers. He said for now, monetary gains are no priority but rather to put cycling on the public sphere. This inaugural event is expected to be very competitive, with many local cyclists expected to take part.
Among those expected to compete will be the country’s export to the professional ranks, 19 year old Bernardo Ayuso. The youngster has just returned home from Spain where he is training and racing with one of the professional teams there. While Botswana is yet to be affiliated to international, continental and regional cycling bodies, Potongwane said the winner of the event, as a national champion will be expected to represent the country at international level should such an opportunity come.