BISA rewards excelling athletes from north region
Over the years, the northern region has gained a reputation for producing Botswana’s top athletes.
With Olympians such as Glody Dube, California Molefhe, Gable Garenamotse, Nijel Amos, Isaac Makwala and Amantle Montsho all hailing from the north, it would appear that reputation is well deserved.
The region’s dominance in athletics has been an intriguing subject for sports lovers and commentators alike.
What is it about the region that has seen it consistently nurture sporting excellence year after year?
While some have attributed this to diet, genes and even coincidence, the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) North Zone Organiser, Tapson Patane said the success is down to hard work and dedication from both coaches and athletes.
According to Patane, it is this simple combination that has led to his zone dominating the local athletics scene for the last three years, scooping a hattrick of consecutive first places in both athletics and ball sports.
The region is planning a massive awards ceremony on 27th October, which will be held under the theme: “Harnessing the untapped talent through corporate social responsibility.”
A delegation of about 400 has been invited, amongst them, sponsors, coaches, school heads, and both former and current athletes, including Tutume-born Makwala.
The poster boy for 400m running in Botswana, Makwala is expected to be one of the main attractions.
“We are a hub for sports talent in this country, and we should celebrate that,” insisted Patane, who ascended to the seat in June this year following the departure of Modiri Mokobela.
As the biggest zone among the four BISA Zones, the North shoulders the responsibility of producing top athletes who have what it takes to compete with the rest of the world.
“So far we have done very well,” he reflected proudly.
The north zone has 70 secondary schools and stretches from Tonota up to Boteti, North West, Chobe and the entire North East region.
The fourth annual BISA North Zone Excellence Sports Awards will recognise young girls and boys who have shown outstanding ability at the sports grounds.
“We made a conscious decision to nurture this talent at grassroots level for athletes to reach sports maturity on time.
“We have the best athletes in the country that broke the national BISA records this year and such are a trophy to this nation and deserve the best kind of motivation to realise their dreams,” Patana said, adding that currently the region prides itself with a generation dubbed ‘Shining Diamonds’ (Lesedi la Botswana).
“These are the likes of Oabile Samunzal (shot put), Tshepiso Masalela, Thomphang Basele, Mothusi Boitshwarelo (all athletics) and Amantle Never (netball).”
Mpatane told Voice Sport that besides awarding best performers, including coaches in 12 sporting codes, they also intend to bring the business community closer to sports.
He stressed that BISA desperately need stakeholders to come on board and put a financial hand into sports.
“Should that happen, we’d be able to reach our vision of elevating our athletes to greater heights,” he predicted passionately.
“We appeal to the business community to partner with BISA North and help us meet our intended dreams. We’ll also engage tertiary institutions and appeal to them to open doors for out athletes for further studies by offering them scholarships,” continued Patane.
He revealed that to penetrate through the business circle, they roped in Business Botswana Regional Manager in the North, Kebaabetswe Bogatsu, who has hit the ground running to lure the business community to partner with BISA North.
Since being appointed the region’s patron, Bogatsu has proved instrumental in bringing a number of big brands on board.
Some of the companies that have confirmed partnership include Pizza House, JB Sports, General Motor Holdings, BM Garments, BOSETU, Adansonia Hotel and Above Creativity.
For his part, Bogatsu said since coming in he looked at the overall strategy, which included increasing participation so the business community can get value for their money.
“In 2016 participation stood at 250 and this year we have gone for 400, that is a milestone,” he said.
“We have almost met the P112, 000 budget we drew up, with only 20 percent of it still needed. The sport and business community should come together to celebrate young sports persons. Let’s not wait for them until they win a gold medal, we need to honour them now,” closed Bogatsu.
Tickets are on sale at JB Sports for P150, which is inclusive of dinner.