With just over two months to go before the opening day of the Paralympic Games, the British High Commission in Botswana hosted a weekend of cycling activities in Palapye to mark this significant milestone in the countdown to London 2012. The cycling events were organised in partnership with the Paralympics Association of Botswana (PASSOBO) and Lotsane Senior School in Palapye.
A valiant group of cyclists, the disabled and the Palapye community took to their bikes to mark 100 days to go to the London 2012 Paralympic Games and to help launch Lotsane Senior School’s fund raising activity.
More than 20 cyclists took to the road and cycled over 280 km from Gaborone to Palapye to raise funds for Lotsane Senior School. Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Luckock, joined elite cyclists on Saturday morning to kick start the ride from Gaborone to Palapye in a fund raising bid.
Lotsane is involved in a Global Partnership Programme (GSP) with Charleston Academy in Scotland. The partnership started three years ago. The GSP promotes partnerships between schools in the UK and schools in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The programme provides advice and guidance, professional development opportunities and grants to schools that are using school partnerships as a means for developing a global dimension within their curriculum. Teachers and students from Charleston Academy will be coming to Palapye in July and Lotsane will pay a visit to Scotland next year.
On Sunday, the village of Palapye played host to a 40km humber (a traditional, steel framed and single gear bike) village race which was entered by people with and without disabilities. This race was followed by a 100m wheelchair race by people with disabilities in both adult and youth groups. The races celebrated the Paralympics movement and disability sport. The London 2012 Paralympic Games will take place between 29 August and 9 September, and will attract athletes from more than 160 countries.
Speaking during the event in Palapye, High Commissioner Jennifer Anderson said for the UK, hosting the Paralympic Games in August will be a special moment as it is the country that founded the Paralympic movement in 1948. She added; “The UK has set out to host the most accessible Olympic and Paralympic Games ever and is determined to use the Games to help change the way the world views disability and encourage a more open and inclusive society.
London 2012 is the first Games where the planning and organisation of the Olympics and Paralympics has been fully integrated. Disability access has been incorporated into the design and structure of the buildings, open spaces, and public transport for 2012.”
The High Commission made a donation to the disabled people who came from around the Central region to witness the day.