Mobile network operator Orange Botswana’s three year sponsorship of the Orange Phikwe Marathon (OPM) has come to end. It remains to be seen if the partnership will be renewed with the company reaffirming its commitment to sports development in Botswana.
The telecommunications giant has sponsored the marathon for three consecutive years, injecting P200 000 annually. Speaking in Phikwe this past weekend Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Patrick Benon said they would use any opportunity to assist where they believe their contribution will make a positive impact while at the same time growing their brand.
“We are committed to contributing towards sports development in the country. It is something that we do continuously to accelerate sport development and develop talent,” said Benon.
The Local Organising Committee Chairperson (LOC), Omphemetse Makwape observed that the marathon sponsor has contributed towards improving the economic status of the township. He said during the marathon almost all hotels and guest houses are full and other service providers benefit immensely from the marathon. He pleaded with Orange not to abandon the marathon but continue sponsoring it.
He acknowledged Orange for their contribution in partnering with sports to develop athletes and improve their lives. “We have experienced growth in the three years that you have been sponsoring the marathon and we are optimistic that you will extend the gesture after seeing the evaluation of the marathon,” Makwape said.
Over 1300 runners participated in the OPM and the number exceeded the target of 1200 that the organisers had set.
The 42.2km marathon was won by the Nkosiyazi Sibanda in the men’s category while the women’s category was won by Kenyan Monica Jepkorir. The duo walked away with P25 000 a prize money each.
Sibanda, who won it for the second time expressed delight saying “I’m happy to have won this race. I started to prepare for it two months back and it really worked for me. I’m also satisfied with the level of competition this year as my competitors gave me a run for my money.”
Jepkorir who did not have enough time to rest after arrival in Botswana said the race was not tough. “The race was not competitive but I feel I could have performed better if it wasn’t for travelling challenges. I traveled for four days and rested for only a few hours before the race,” explained Jepkorir.