Gaborone — "Botswana's ability to host continental motor cycling competitions is a sign of growth of the sport in the country," says youth empowerment, sport and culture development minister, Thapelo Olopeng
Olopeng was speaking at Wings Motor Park in Mmamashia, north of Gaborone during the Motocross of African Nations (MXoAN 2017) recently.
He described MXoAN as the pinnacle of motocross events in Africa and the sport's equivalent to the All Africa Games, adding that it provided a platform for the cream of the continent's top riders and Botswana as a new federation to the sport.
"Botswana Motor Sport (BMS) only recently became a federation, and before this we rode under the auspices of Motorsport South Africa. Before Botswana became a full federation, we could not field a national team at either motocross or off-road continental championships," Olopeng said.
He praised event sponsors for ensuring that the country was able to host the continental competition despite having to conduct preparations over a short period of time.
"When Botswana was confirmed as the host nation for this event on March 11, just five and a half months ago, the area used for this race was a ploughing field. It is only through the amazing generosity of the sponsors of this event that the BMS has been able to convert a ploughing field to the motocross track and the associated infrastructure," Olopeng said.
Victor Khan, the national sales and marketing manager of one of the event sponsors, Bokomo Botswana, said they were keen to assist BMS when they were approached to sponsor the competition.
"We saw it fit as a responsible company to assist the country host the African championships. We have already been involved in Botswana sport, in events such as the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, and in assisting four development riders over the six years to participate in the Gem Diamonds Kalahari Challenge," Khan said.
He said as a brand that clamours for excellence in their products, they have seen it fit to assist Batswana athletes to aim for distinction in their various fields of competition.
"We assisted Vincent Crosbie when he was still a development rider, and we continued being one of the many other sponsors that were of assistance to him when he gained popularity and participated in the Dakar Rally. We see it fit to promote athletes when they are still developing," Khan said.
Tunku Motsumi of BMS said they were pleased with how the event had turned out, and he also thanked the sponsors, including Komatsu Botswana, Giant Transport, Pick and Pay Botswana, Babcock, Vivo Energy and Shell Licensee for assisting them to put together the event over a short notice.
Source : BOPA