Botswana young chess player Thuto Mpene is the champion of the 2019 Africa Schools Chess Championship held in Kampala Uganda this week.
The 11-year-old from Letlhakane Primary student scored 8.5 points out of a possible 9 after winning all games and drawing one against Tandeka Shiloh of Uganda.
The tournament was a qualifier for the World Schools Chess Championships which will be held next year May in Peru South America.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Mpene told Voice Sport his preparations ahead of the tournament helped him to sail through in a very tough competition.
The youngster said he was focused and determined to qualify for the World Championships.
“This is a dream come true. I worked hard in preparation for this competition and made sure I won local competitions,” said Mpene, his young giggly voice lighting up this reporter’s face.
The brainy “tween” told Voice Sports that he was happy and proud of what hew has achieved.
“I would like to thank my father and mother for their support and ensuring that I take part in this tournament. My parents travelled with me to Uganda to give me support. It was not an easy game but I thank God,” he said elatedly, adding that his next assignment is to focus on getting ready for the World Championships.
In an interview with Voice Sports, the equally thrilled Champion’s mother Kelebogile Mpene despite all the financial challenges they encountered to send their talented kid to Uganda, the victory makes it all worthwhile.
“Botswana National Sports Commission could not sponsor us, I’m just happy that our son is raising the nation’s flag high,” said a proud Mpene.
“We really struggled as a family to raise funds for this trip. Thanks to Desai Law Group for sponsoring the trip,” she said.
The young Champion is expected to arrive back this Friday at 5pm and Botswana Chess Federation has organised a welcome ceremony for the Peru bound Gold medalist .