Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) has intensified its grassroots development programme. The association has started its initiative of identify young potential talent for possible qualification and participation in the 2018 African Youth Games, Youth Olympic Games and the 2020 Olympic Games. The talent identification initiative is made possible through the assistance of Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and Olympic Solidarity. BCA continued with the initiative in the past weekend in Gaborone and Ramotswa where children born between 2000 and 2001 underwent training and competitions. BCA spokesperson Kagiso Potongwane said 42 children attended the Ramotswa session while 20 turned up for the Gaborone one. According to Potongwane, the programme went very well even though the number of girls taking up the programme is still disappointing. “The girls, however, had proved to be worthy of further trials as they displayed good bicycle handling skills,” he said, adding that the association will continue to hold such sessions in January 2017. Some of the kids who have been registered at previous sessions will be invited again to future sessions to continue monitoring their progress.
To come up with talented cyclists, BCA has planned a step-by-step selection process with which the best 20 or more kids will be identified. Potongwane said following the selection of this group, the cyclists will undergo further training and competitions facilitated by BCA. He said this will be to select the best cyclists for possible qualification and selection to participate in the coming 2018 African Youth Games, Youth Olympic Games and the 2020 Olympic Games.Potongwane called on parents to bring their children forward for assessment. Since the number of girls taking part in these sessions is low, he particularly encouraged females to come on board saying cycling is snot a male sport only. This is not the first time that the association engaged in this kind of grassroots development. It first started before the 2014 Africa youth Games which were held in Botswana. The exercise produced such talented riders like the current national U-23 male champion Abeng Malete. Since the programme Malete has been holding on to cycling with a promising future ahead of him. BCA executive committee therefore believes that the programme will help them identify and groom talent for the future.