The Gaborone Cycling Club (GCC) Chairperson, Peter Sekwale, says he hopes to see the fortunes of cycling improve during his tenure as the leader of GCC.
Sekwale, who was re-elected to lead GCC for the second year running during the clubs’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past weekend says this, as well as the development of cyclists, finding sponsors for more cycling events and involvement of cycling in corporate social responsibility will be top of his priority list during his second tenure in office.
Speaking in an interview, Sekwale said in the past year, his club has seen a 20 percent increase in membership, something which he believes shows there’s room for the sport of cycling to grow.
“This increase in membership numbers is from Batswana. Batswana are very interested in cycling and the popularity of the sport is on the rise,” he said. Sekwale added that while there has always been a misconception that the sport is expensive, the opposite is true.
“As with any other sport, there are sacrifices that have to be made when joining cycling. But the truth is, when it comes to cycling, everyone spends as he can afford. Just like in football, one may opt to buy soccer boots worth more than P1000 while another one, due to what he or she can afford, will buy the cheapest boots and still compete. Cycling is more or less the same; one may opt to buy an expensive bicycle while another may opt to buy the cheapest and will still compete,” he said.
Sekwale says to ensure that the sport remains accessible to Batswana, GCC has always sought not to increase its membership fees as well as ensuring that competition entry fees do not rise much.
On the issue of development of cycling, Sekwale says development of young and upcoming cyclists has always been upmost in GCC’s planning. He says as such, the club has in the past years incorporated kids’ competitions in their events to get them involved in the sport. Apart from this, he says the club has also embarked on a project to develop Batswana riders who can compete in international events in the near future.
“In this regard, we have sought sponsorship from Old Mutual & Federal in South Africa to sponsor some of our Batswana developmental cyclists to train in South Africa. Our intention is that they should go to South Africa where they will train and compete in as many races to prepare them for the future. We are hoping that if they go, they will gain experience and will go on to compete in bigger races like the Cape Argus,” Sekwale said.
Regarding competitions, he says his club will be aiming to keep its events going, whether there are sponsors or not. He says as such, GCC’s annual events, including the Kalahari Challenge, will go as planned this year.
“As is known, we lost Subaru as the Kalahari Challenge’s title sponsor in the past year. However, fortunately for us, we had the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) coming on board last year as one of our sponsors and we are hoping that they will continue to sponsor us. We are also trying to find sponsors for the race but our intention is that the Kalahari Challenge will take place as is the norm,” he said.
On other issues, Sekwale says his committee will be seeking to improve the image of cycling in the country and to do its part in the empowerment of Batswana by engaging in corporate Social Responsibility projects. Meanwhile, there were no major changes in the GCC executive committee during the club’s AGM elections. The club retained all of its executive members with Sekwale as the chairperson, Marius De Wet as the website and communications coordinator, Seamus O’Neill as the Development Officer, Kim van Zyl as the Events Coordinator while Ellen Hood will continue as the club’s Treasurer.