Botswana to miss out on Dakar action
Botswana will miss out on the 2018 Dakar Rally as motocross rider, Vincent Crosbie pulled out of the competition owing to a hand injury and alleged financial problems.
Giving an impressive showing at his maiden rally, Crosbie was the first Motswana to participate in the race that took place last year crossing between three Southern American nations, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia. Crosbie who finished in position 35 riding his KTM bike 2.2 class was also ranked No. 6 worldwide in the rookie riders category yet it was his first time competing. That performance qualified him for this year’s edition in which the African continent is only represented by the South African duo of David Thomas and Willem Du Toit.
While other riders will be heading to Peru for the 40th edition of the Dakar rally, the 27 year old would have to stay behind and nurse his injury and find a way to get government and the business community to back him when he next competes at the gigantic event. Former Botswana Motorsport Association (BMS) VP administration David Mashonja says the Serowe born athlete had qualified for the race but finances and most importantly his injury denied him the chance to set off to Peru to face his contemporaries.
“Remember when he went there last year there were lots of hurdles especially to raise money to go there. So after last year’s edition he decided to recover from the race and raise some money for the next event,” Mashonja who was actively involved in plans to find sponsorship for Crosbie said. It is expected that Crosbie together with three times Africa Champion Ross Branch will compete in next year’s edition.
Branch has been in the motor bike riding industry for a considerable time now and that has enabled him to perfect his riding skills and perform breath taking stunts, in fact he is one of the daring riders out there. The rider is currently in South America, although he will not be competing, he will get a chance to assess the terrain and get firsthand experience of the competition before he competes next year. He is currently a champion of the desert race in the motor bikes category.
Crosbie also had a hard time before he could see his dream of competing in the Dakar rally materialize, mainly due to lack of sponsorship, Brand Botswana however came to his rescue, and helped him see through the dream he’d dad since he was a boy. Crosbie needed an overall of P1.5 million, with an entry fee of 14,800.00 Euros to enter the competition, in the process flying high the Botswana flag.
Batswana also helped with donating towards the competition. The Funds which were donated by some Batswana and Brand Botswana went towards the following: Entry Fee, Flights, Accommodation, Rally Bike Rental, Mechanical Maintenance, Tyres and Mousses (10 sets of front and back, Rally Bike Spares, Mechanic & Support Crew, Racing Kit (racing jackets, pants, shirts), Supplements, Sponsors Decals/Sticker Kit for Rally Bike, Licensing & Insurances and Navigation Equipment.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”