More than 200 cyclists and athletes descended into the usually quiet village of Toteng, some 70 kilometres outside Maun for the inaugural Khoemacau Copper Mining GM’s Lake Ngami Cycle Classic headlined by First Lady Neo Masisi as guest rider over the weekend. International cyclists from South Africa and Zimbabwe also graced the event.
The objective of the event, as outlined by Khoemacau Copper Mine executive director Boikobo Paya was to raise funds to be ploughed back into the communities the mine operates in, those being Sehithwa, Toteng, Komana, Makgalo, Legotlhwana, Bodibeng, Bothatogo and Somelo.
As part of the mine’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Paya said proceeds from the challenge will be instrumental in the implementation of projects in areas of health, education and agriculture.
More than 100 cyclists participated in the 140 km, 106 km, 60 km and 30km categories, while 100 people participated in the 10 km race which was routed along the Toteng/Sehithwa road.
Reynard Butler of Aluwani Capital Partners from South Africa won the 140 km elite male category with a time of 3 hours 32 minutes followed by Jwaneng Cycling’s Abeng Malete who clocked 3 hours 40 minutes.
Nonofo Maswabi of Jwaneng Cycling Club won the 106 km Elite Female Category clocking 3 hours 14 minutes while Wame Ntwayakgosi of the First Lady’s Cycling Team finished in second place with a time of 3 hours 17 minutes.
In the 10km run/walk Julius Monyeki of Botswana Defence Force Athletics club won the race clocking 34 minutes followed by Ithuteng Mayaro of Maun with a time of 42 minutes.
The 140 km elite male winner, Butler was ecstatic about the classic, as it gave him exposure as an international cyclist, adding that it prepared him for upcoming races he is to take part in.
“It was a fantastic day and all the riders had great fun enjoying the route,” he said in a delightful mood.
Maswabi, who won the 106 km female elite attributed her success to her club’s support, and rigorous training as she prepared for the challenge.
The winners of both the 140 km elite and 106 km elite categories were awarded an amount of P7000 each, with second position walking away with P4000 while third position received P3000. The first position for the 10km run/walk won P1000 and second position received P750 while the third position got P500.
Meanwhile Paya has noted that the next episode of the annual event they will incorporate strategies that will maximise the benefits of the communities for the growth of the local economy.
Guest rider, First Lady Neo Masisi applauded the Khoemacau Copper Mine for giving her the privilege to be part of the event which she said was good for the health of the participants. She called on young girls and women to also participate in cycling for the health benefits that come with it. She further commended the mine for its CSR initiatives for the benefit of the communities it operates within.
On the funds front, Paya has noted their target for this year’s event was to raise P250 000, to cover the project they have set themselves out to do. He indicated that the expectation for next year’s edition is to raise over P1 million.