Botswana’s youthful riders continued to show potential as they dominated the inaugural Mascom Cycle Challenge. In a domineering display, it was the youthful riders who came up tops in both the 60km and 100km races over the weekend. While the likes of Bernardo Ayuso and Lulu Telekelo once again came out winners in the men’s 100km race, the most impressive performance of the weekend came from 16 year old Arnold Kokwane who displayed a performance belying his tender age to win his first race in many.
Having braced a head wind and evaded a crash, the youngster finished the 60km race in 1 hour 17 minutes and 57 seconds, less than a minute ahead of his fellow Jonmol teammate Elvis Setshogo, who finished in 1 hour 18 minutes and 13 seconds, while Yuyi Matome finished third in 1 hour 19 minutes and 6 seconds. Speaking in an interview after the race, the youngster expressed delight at how his race penned out. “This race was very hectic because of the headwind we went against on the way to the Bokaa traffic lights. I also encountered a crash where many cyclists were involved, so I had to sway away from the crash so that I don’t get involved. From there I used a lot of energy to catch up with the front group,” the teenager said.
Despite the challenges, the youthful rider, together with Setshogo went on to make it a one two podium finish for the Jonmol Cycling Club. In the men’s 100km, it was business as usual for Ayuso and Telekelo who finished first and second position respectively, while Kyle Poppleton came third. While Ayuso was a clear winner of the men’s 100km event, finishing it in 2 hours 32 minutes and 37 seconds, the race for the second spot was a very tight one, with both Telekelo and Poppleton finishing in 2 hours 33 minutes and 22 seconds, but the 21 year old Telekelo took it with just a few milliseconds. In the ladies 100km category, it was the irrepressible Anouk van der Geest who walked away the winner, having finished the 100km race in 2 hours 36 minutes and 59 seconds, more than fifteen minutes ahead of second placed Hillary O’Leary who took 2 hours 54 minutes and 8 seconds to finish the race. Closely behind in third place was Bakang Ebudilwe who finished just 49 seconds behind second placed O’Leary.
Still in the ladies results, Jip Vader was the winner of the 60km junior female race, posting an impressive time of 1 hour 22 minutes and 28 seconds. Behind her was Bonno Motlhetlhi who finished the race in 1 hour 34 minutes 12 seconds while Segomotso Ditlhakeng finished the race in 1 hour 40 minutes and 34 seconds to scoop third position. Meanwhile, the Chairperson of Tsela Riders, who are the organisers of the race, described the inaugural Mascom Cycle Challenge as a success. Having targeted between 150 and 200 cyclists, the organisers say they managed to register at least 205 cyclists, most of whom were young cyclists. Mompe said the impressive performances by the country’s youthful cyclists, shows that with more sponsors like Mascom on board, more talent could be unearthed.
For her part, Mascom Wireless Chief Marketing Officer, Dzene Makhwade Seboni said the partnership with Tsela Riders showed her company’s commitment to sports development in Botswana. She said Mascom’s involvement in sports is also the company’s way of promoting healthy living and fitness among Batswana. Apart from cycling, the wireless network giants also sponsor an array of sporting activities like football and Volleyball, just to name a few.