Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) were the grateful recipients of a P150, 000 donation from Debswana Mining Company this week.
The Federation, led by Tshenolo Maruatona, secured the sponsorship deal on the eve of their annual Botswana International Open Chess Championship – now renamed the Debswana International Open Chess Tournament Champioship.
The tournament, which will be held at Botho University, takes place from Thursday the 29th to the 2nd of October, in conjunction with the country’s 50th independence celebrations.
Speaking at the sponsorship launch, Debswana’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Ester Kanaimba-Senai stressed the exciting partnership marked yet another extension of the mining company’s commitment to sports development in Botswana.
She noted that the growth of sport in the country, in terms of both numbers and athlete’s performances, was worth celebrating, adding that Debswana were proud to have been a partner in nurturing talent through the Botswana National Sports Commission’s Re Ba Bona Ha skills development programme.
“The Botswana International Chess Championship is one of the initiatives that we continue to support, not least because our chess players generally perform well. Over the past five years, we have supported this event to the tune of nearly P500, 000. We are happy this support has yielded desired results for the game of chess,” she said.
Noting the tournament’s rapidly growing reputation and the opportunities this creates, Kanaimba-Senai said, “I am informed that this event brings together close to 200 players from across Africa. This presents good ground for cultural exchanges because we need an opportunity to tell the Botswana story and showcase our country’s unique story of a basket case with no hope at independence to middle income economy. Like pieces on a chess board, we remain united in our diversity, and proud that God has led us this far.”
Over the years the Championship has been dominated by foreign players but BCF President Maruatona is confident a local winner will emerge this year.
Revealing the top prizes at this year’s tournament, Maruatona said, “Prestige Open section first prize will be P1, 200, while for the ladies section, first prize stands at P8, 000.”