- Emerge Sportsman of the Year and Coach of the Year respectively
- Women’s relay team rises from 41st to 14th position ahead of Budapest ’23
Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo and Justice Dipeba scooped two individual awards at the recent African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Annual Sports Awards held in Matshapa, Eswatini on Saturday.
Botswana Athletics Association’s (BAA) National Team Coach Justice Dipeba emerged Coach of the Year ahead of Cheryl Tafadzwa Hove of Special Olympics Zimbabwe and Lucas Sinoia of Mozambique Boxing while Letsile Tebogo was named Sportsman of the Year, beating Mozambique’s Rady Gramane (Boxing) and South Africa’s Andile Dlamini (Football).
Naledi Marape and Edwin Masuge
Other Batswana nominated for these awards are Women Fide Master (WFM) Naledi Marape of Chess and Edwin Masuge of Athletics, but they did not win.
Speaking as he received his award, Coach Dipeba said he was happy that his work was widely recognised in the region as he strives to develop and produce talent in athletics.
“I am very honoured, standing here tonight is very inexpressible by itself,” he said. “I remember very well when I started my coaching career more than 20 years ago and my first international duty as head coach was to Region 5 Games in Mozambique 2004.
AUSC Region 5 and BNSC
“I have grown through the ranks and have represented my country and the region at major games as an athlete and as a coach. I would like to thank the AUSC Region 5 and the Botswana National Sports Commission for contributing to my career all these years.”
With Botswana’s wing-footed sprinter Letsile Tebogo currently based in Europe for training ahead of Budapest ’23 World Athletics Championships, BNSC board member Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego received his prestigious Sportsman of the Year award on his behalf.
However, he declared himself happy to have won the award ahead of the best in the region when Gazette Sports contacted him. “I am happy that I won the award, which was not an obvious thing for me because I regard my fellow nominees highly,” Tebogo said.
‘Accolades for my country’
“It is sad that I was not able to attend the ceremony due to other commitments. It always feels good to be awarded for excellence and hard work. This motivates me to always try my best in everything that I do.
“I am also happy that my efforts are recognised in the region and I promise to continue to represent my country well and to win more accolades of this magnitude.”
Meanwhile, Botswana’s 4 x 400m women’s relay team has earned a spot in the top 16 of the World Athletics rankings ahead of Budapest ’23.
From 41st to 14th
They have come from 41st position and are now ranked 14th in the women’s 4x400m relay qualification order for the World Athletics Championships.
The Botswana women’s 4x400m relay finished in 1st position at the Kenya National Championships, registering a season’s best time of 3.28.74, which is a monumental improvement from the 3.41.14 they registered at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.
The quartet was made up of Thomphang Basele, Lydia Jele, Golekanye Chikani and Obakeng Kameberuka.