Botswana cyclist, Matlhogonolo Botlhole, recently participated in the prestigious Grand Fondo road race and Individual Time Trials events held in Glasgow, Scotland, showcasing his talent and skills on an international stage. Although his overall performance may not have been outstanding, his participation in these high-level competitions is seen as invaluable for his future as an athlete, according to the Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) President, Kagiso Potongwane.

"We are grateful to the UCI for having afforded us this opportunity," said Potongwane. "Competing at the highest level provides Botlhole with valuable experience and exposure, which will undoubtedly contribute to his growth as an athlete."

The World Championships, organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), offer UCI licensed athletes the chance to earn points that can assist them in future considerations for participation in other major cycling events. Botlhole's performance in the Grand Fondo road race and Individual Time Trials will not only contribute to his individual ranking but also to the ranking of Botswana as a cycling nation.

In addition to the competitions, the BCA Committee members were invited to attend the UCI Congress, where they gained valuable insights into the UCI's programs and projects. The Congress provided a platform for various presentations on topics such as the Paris Olympics, Women in Cycling, the UCI Solidarity Program, Para Cycling, Anti-Doping, and other important aspects of the sport according to Potongwane.

"The UCI's intention to develop cycling worldwide was evident throughout the Congress," stated Potongwane. "As a country, we need to align our strategy, goals, and targets with the UCI's main objectives to ensure the growth and success of cycling in Botswana."

Potongwane emphasized the importance of focusing on Women in Cycling, as the UCI has made it a priority to improve gender representation in the sport. By investing in the development of female leaders and athletes, Botswana can benefit from the UCI's support structures and programs.

“Another area of focus highlighted by the UCI is environmental sustainability. The UCI aims to promote a greener cycling world and encourages national federations, including Botswana, to develop frameworks and policies to support this initiative.”

However, achieving these goals will not be an easy task and will require commitment from the national federation and its affiliate clubs. Potongwane emphasized the need for collaboration and effort from all stakeholders to ensure the future improvement of cycling in Botswana.

"We need to facilitate clubs to align their efforts with these UCI objectives," Potongwane explained. "Clubs must also work hard to make efforts that support these ideals, ultimately contributing to the growth and development of cycling in our country."

As Botlhole continues his journey in the world of cycling, his participation in the Grand Fondo road race and Individual Time Trials serves as a stepping stone towards greater achievements. With the support of the UCI and the commitment of the BCA and its affiliate clubs, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in the sport, both on the national and international stage.