After being overlooked for scholarships over two consecutive years despite the hard work displayed, young cyclist Lebopo Mompe has finally been nominated for the elite scholarship.
The 19-year-old cyclist will now head to Brisbane, Australia to pursue a Bachelor of Business and Commerce at Griffith College under the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Elite Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship was established to help the country’s high performing and promising student-athletes to pursue education and sports training in some of the best educational institutions whilst chasing their own sporting dreams.
For athletes to be considered for the scholarship, they should have consistently won medals in national and regional championships over a two-year period and also be under the age of 21-years-old.
As per the scholarship, Mompe will spend 3 years and 8 months at the Griffith College totally financed by the Ministry of Tertiary Education through its department of Tertiary Education Financing.
Speaking in an interview, an elated Mompe said ‘he could not be more thrilled as it has been a tormenting two years for him.’
Despite being consistent and producing good results, the Tsela Riders and national junior team cyclist found himself on the back pedal as his peers were awarded scholarships.
“To this day I have never got a straight answer as to why I was passed by two scholarships. Taking into consideration that I was performing very well year after year. As an athlete, that was quite frustrating because I was giving it my all but only to be turned down,” he explained.
Mompe said a chat with his coach at the beginning of year 2020 really helped him acquire the scholarship. He said he told his coach that he is willing to be the best candidate in terms of performance in every race.
“I told him I had to be outstanding in every race and to be the best candidate among other cyclist. There were training sessions in which I felt like giving up because it was tough but I lived and made it through my motto ‘no pain no gain’,” Mompe explained.
“It is very much competitive; it is no easy walk in the park to acquire the scholarship. We are looking at a strong field of cyclist who off which I had to tussle out for. It took a lot of hard work and determination to get where I am,” he added.
despite the hardship acquired during the journey, not once did the Tsela Rider cyclist, Mompe think of giving up.
“Passion of cycling has been my driving force hence I never gave up. I envisioned where I want to be and my mind was set on that. It took a lot of mental strength for me to lock on to that goal and I never gave up,” Mompe said.
A lesson Mompe carries in his heart is that when times are tough giving up is not an answer, adding that it should be the same with all athletes across all sporting codes.