The University of Botswana, through the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation contributed to the success of Team Botswana at the just ended Gold Coast XXI Commonwealth Games in Australia. This came to light during the UB Sports and Recreation Awards held in the evening of May 3, 2018 at the UB Campus Indoor Sports Centre.
Presenting the Coach of the Year and the Achievements Awards, the Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation, Raj Rathedi elaborated on the various roles that the University of Botswana played in the preparations, mentorship, and training of some of the major players in the games, which saw Botswana winning three golds, a silver and a bronze at the games on April 4-15, 2018 in Australia.
Mr Rathedi pointed out that the 400 metre gold medallist, Isaac Makwala and other athletes, such as Leaname ‘Lux’ Maotoanong, Christine Botlogetswe, Leungo Matlhaku, Goitseone Selepa, Pako Seribe, and Karabo Seribe had full time training partners in the UB Athletics Team and were being coached by Justice Dipeba, a UB Sports Officer and Head Coach of the UB Athletics Team. The sports persons also utilised the UB track following a four-year circle.
Maotoanong ran the first leg of the gold winning four by four men’s relay team. Makwala ran the anchor leg.
According to Rathedi, Matlhaku ran the third leg of the Women’s four by four relay team, and Botlhogile ran the second leg. The women’s team won the bronze medal for Botswana.
He disclosed that Botlhogile was also placed fourth in the women’s 400 meters final. Mothibi took part in the short sprints, while Seribe and Seleka were reserves in the women’s and men’s relay teams respectively.
Rathedi also pointed out that UB also provided professional assistance for the Botswana Commonwealth Team in the form of two medical doctors, namely Dr Stella Tawana, who is the Director of UB Health Services, and Dr Maikutlo Kebaetse from the UB School of Medicine; team psychologists were Dr Tshephang Tshube of Physical Education, and Kagiso Tlhabano of the UB Department of Careers and Counselling. The team Athletics Head Coach was Justice Dipeba of the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation; and the Boxing Team Head Coach was Lechedzani Luza, a former UB student and current Head Coach of the UB Boxing Team.
Two UB students also made up the Botswana team to the international games. These were Letlhabo Modukanele and Aratwa Kesemang, two female boxers from the UB Boxing Club, said Rathedi.
The Sports and Recreation Awards were held to reward the significant input by students and athletes and former students who volunteered as coaches and administrators in University sports and for representing the country at international competitions. Rathedi said the awards were one way to prove the University held its sports community in high regard, and to show the University’s commitment towards had in he promotion and development of sports and recreation amongst students.
The guest speaker at the awards ceremony was Mr Thabo Thamane, the Chief Executive Officer of the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency, and also the President of the Botswana Softball Association. Mr Thamane said the growth of the UB Sports awards was testament to the contribution that the University sporting community had been making over the years.
He urged parents and the community at large to be number one fans of athletes, to encourage them to strive to do their utmost best.
He also stated that sports could generate a variety of socio-economic benefits: “Studies have found that sports programmes aimed at youths at risk of criminal behaviour can enhance self-esteem and reduce reoffending,” said Mr Thamane.