The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has invited Gobona Mantle (Gaborone Cycling Club) to attend a women’s coaching course at the UCI World Cycling Centre IN Aigle, Switzerland from 3-7 March.
According to the Botswana Cycling Association , the coaching course will “upgrade her technical knowledge and skills, as well as practical experience to further the development of cycling in Botswana.” BCA also revealed that she will be supported by the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) through the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship.
The Bobonong native has been involved in cycling for seven years and has stated that she had to overcome a rough start in order to become a reputable force in local cycling. “Initially I struggled with sponsorships and winning as there were ladies who were in the sport for a longer time, but it did not take me long to showcase my talent. I have performed well in the past few years, I am always in the top three on mountain biking and that has motivated me to do more and try to understand what needs to be done as a nation to make sure we see a lot of youngsters and women starting cycling at a tender age,” Mantle told Gazette Sport.
Her success has seen her venture into the coaching avenue. “I started training my daughter and she also became focused on performing better and that made me realise I need to learn more about this sport so that I help other young girls that will show interest in cycling,” she added.
Mantle also touched on what she expects to learn in Switzerland saying, “I expect to gain as much information as possible so that I share my knowledge with a young generation of cyclists. Cycling is a growing sport and you can see the dedication and love that these youngsters have and they are willing to go the extra mile to achieve their goal of international level competition. Luckily BCA and the BNOC are supporting new talent through scholarships like mine or furthering sports related studies overseas.”
In conclusion, Mantle stated that she would like to see the government introduce cycling in their sport curriculum so that children could learn to ride at a young age.