By Patience Lephogole
Orapa Classic Cycle Challenge 2019 has been hailed a success by the club’s chairman Bryan Makhwaje.
He said: “The event went well. We had close to 150 participants in the timed events as well as children in fun rides on and off the road.”
“We had participants coming from as far as Zimbabwe. Our sponsors came through for us and everything was covered, including race prizes meals, timing costs, medals, cycling kit for Orapa Cycling Club members and attire for marshals.”
“The race route, though largely flat was complemented by fairly strong headwinds for about 50km, which ensured that cyclist exerted themselves to make the mark. Participants were very cooperative with each other as well as with the race marshals, which culminated in a very safe race. The organisers did not encounter and challenges at all,” he noted.
Makhwaje further highlighted that race marshalling consisted of a total of 48 volunteers, including Botswana Boy Scouts from Orapa, complemented members from other branches in Botswana, Orapa Police and G4S officers, to ensure traffic control and safety of the race. He revelead that these people provided this services for free on a volunteering basis.
“We observed that this year, we started our preparations very late because several of potential sponsors did indicate that they were interested in supporting us bet they were constrained because we went to them at short notice and they did not have a budget for us. For our next event of 2020, we shall start our engagements with potential sponsors before the end of 2019, to ensure that they have us in their budgets for next year,” Makhwaje opined.
“We believe that we have partially achieved our aim in that more youths were awarded prizes in this event but we had shortage of woman participants as some prizes were unclaimed,” said Makhwaje
“The event generated almost P70 000 Pula after taking in account costs incurred in organizing and conducting the event. This money shall be used to procure the bicycles, cycling accessories as well as subsiding deserving youths for accommodation, transport and meals when they participate in local competitions,” he added.
The club has already procured a bike carrier trailer that takes 10 bikes, which will further facilitate participation. It is noted that due to their location, Orapa Cycling Club members have to travel and overnight in hotels when they participate in races, which are mostly around Gaborone whereas clubs around Gaborone participate with minimal costs.
“We shall also periodically procure services of cycling training coach to help improve the skills of the youngsters that would have been recruited,” he concluded.
He said the cost of procuring suitable road bicycles and associated necessary accessories for young people is a hurdle and therefore prevents potential athletes from partaking in the sport. The cost of participating in races nationally as well as internationally is also an impediment to youth development.
The aim of the event was to promote participation of children and women in the sport of cycling. Furthermore, it was to generate income to allow Orapa Cycling Club to purchase development bicycles.