Gazette Reporter

Athletics once again emerged as the biggest winner at the 41st Botswana Sports Awards held in Gaborone on Saturday. The code’s trending super star, Letsile Tebogo, along chess’ Naledi Marape, were the toast of the night, walking away with the Outstanding Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards.

Both pocketed P75, 000 cash courtesy of Debswana. Athletics proved dominant, winning inmore than half of the 11 available categories on the night. Tebogo had an outstanding 2021, blasting to a gold medal at the World Under-20 Athletics Championship held in Kenya last August. He also won a silver medal at the same competition. He has continued from where he left off after he ran his fastest 100m race last week, clocking 9.96secs, a world record awaiting ratification by World Athletics.

He has broken the national 100m record three times in the last 16months. Marape on the other hand has come through the ranks at the Botswana Chess Federation. She is the youngest Motswana to attain the title of Women Fide Master (WFM), a feat achieved at only age 11. She became Women Candidate Master (WCM) at just nine years, before going on to earn the title of WFM in 2017. The 16-year-old is tipped for greatness on the chequered board and is part of the 2022 World Chess Olympiad team due to compete in India in June. The men’s 4x400m relay team which defied odds to win a bronze medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, was rewarded with the Team of the Year award.

The team had Bayapo Ndori, Zibane Ngozi, Baboloki Thebe and Isaac Makwala. They were handsomely rewarded for winning only the country’s second medal when the government gave each athlete a two-bed roomed house in Gaborone. The recent award carried a cash prize of P75, 000.Athletics continued to shine on the night with coach, Justice Dipeba pocketing a handsome P25, 000 for winning the Outstanding Coach of the Year award.
Dipeba has been instrumental in moulding some of the country’s finest talents and was part of the team at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite hanging up her spikes, Amantle Victor-Nkape (Montsho) found herself on the podium to receive two awards.

The first was her role in ensuring the gild child prospers in spot, which is sponsored by Women and Sport in Botswana. She received P10,000 for her efforts, before she bagged the Minister’s Award, along another athlete Antony Palesa and the late softball player, Andrew Mokoto. Edwin Masuge was voted the Outstanding Male Athlete with Disability while Gloria Majaga won the Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year award.

Other than chess and softball, tennis was the other code to have an individual on the winner’s list, with Gaone Poane walking away with the Oustanding Umpire of the Year title. The country’s most popular sport, football only went home with one award, as Jwaneng Galaxy were picked as the Public Team of the Year, which was decided through votes. Galaxy had a stellar season last year when against COVID-19 odds, they reached the group stages of the CAF Champions League, becoming only the second local side after Township Rollers, to achieve the milestone.There was disappointment for Africa Women Nations Cup-bound Mares as they missed out on the award.