Monday, January 17, 2022

Botswana Cycling keen to develop the sport

The Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) says it intends to embark on the development of the sport in the country.

Speaking to Telegraph Sport, a BCA executive Committee member, Seamus Oneill, says, however, this will be possible once they have restructured the association.
He says as a first step towards achieving this ideal, they first have to consolidate cycling clubs within the country.

According to Oneill, only a few clubs in the country such as the Gaborone Cycling Club, XXX BMX Club, Debswana Orapa, Debswana Jwaneng and Tsela Riders are currently registered with the Registrar of Societies while the other remaining clubs do not even have formal structures.

He says it is the BCA’s aim to assist these clubs to become fully formalized. “Once this happens then it will be easier to identify potential talent within these clubs. Only then can we really expect the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) to assist with sponsorship and the like,” Oneill told Telegraph Sport.

The BCA Executive Committee member says cycling in Botswana is still at its infancy. He says his association, which was only readmitted to the BNSC in November last year, is planning to seek affiliation to the International Cycling Union (UCI) before seeking readmission to the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC).

He added that once they have affiliated to the UCI, they can then be able to send their riders for further development in neighbouring South Africa. The UCI currently has a Development Academy in South Africa headed up by former South African Track star JP van Zyl.

African countries who are affiliated to the cycling mother body are entitled to send their most promising young cyclists to this academy for further development.

Oneill further informed Telegraph Sport that there are a number of Batswana riders who ride regularly in events held in South Africa, and the association expects that these riders will also ride this year in events in Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“Outside of these regions, we have had teams that have ridden in the Trans Alps race, and the Trans Rockies race, in the past 3 years. However these types of events are very expensive and few riders have the funds to spend to enter these overseas events,” Oneill said.

Oneill says they are hoping that their involvement with Kenya Airways, which has sponsored 2 top Kenyan riders to compete in the upcoming Subaru Kalahari Challenge, cycling Botswana may look to send a team to ride in one of the Kenyan National events later this year.

Meanwhile, the Gaborone Cycling Club says it will be looking forward to holding a clinic together with the two Kenyan riders coming for the Subaru Kalahari for its Development riders and other interested parties. GCC says it will be hoping that the two Kenyans will be able to talk about their riding experiences and the goals that they have achieved through cycling. The two Kenyan riders regularly hold cycling events and development workshops in Kenya, and GCC says it hopes that they will be able to inspire young Batswana riders.

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