A young, gifted professional cyclist, Bakang has been competing since 2014 – in both road and mountain biking categories. As a long-time sports enthusiast, it didn’t take her long to progress from an average cyclist to winning multiple championships in her home country, Botswana, to currently training for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan.
We first met Bakang at the Nedbank Tour de Tuli (NTDT) in 2017 where she and a group of other riders from the Tsela Riders Botswana Cycling Club were sponsored by Nedbank to participate in the Tour.
“I loved the NTDT. It was incredibly well organised and everyone was so friendly. The food was particularly great – I felt like I was eating a delicious home-cooked meal every day – the best kind! The fact that I was waking up each morning to ride my bike in the wilderness was a bonus”, says Bakang.
During the Tour Bakang was able to network and interact with many successful and motivating individuals. One of these individuals was Hans Seifert, who offered Bakang an all-expenses paid sponsorship to train in the Austrian Alps on a four-week programme covering both mountain biking and road cycling with coach Christian Rothart.
After the training programme Bakang came home and won numerous competitions, taking each trophy with ease. At just 21, Bakang has claimed victory in the Botswana National Mountain Biking Championships, the Bank Gaborone Botswana Cycling Association National Championships and the Botswana Power Corporation Otse-Kanye challenge.
“After training in the Austrian Alps, in extremely cold weather conditions and unfamiliar terrain, I found training back at home a lot easier. My coach has also made sure I continue to follow a rigorous programme, sending me training updates via email”, said Bakang.
With no rest for the motivated, Bakang is currently in Switzerland on a two-year sponsorship – awarded by the Botswana National Olympic Committee – at The Union Cycliste Internationale World Cycling Centre where she is training to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
“My greatest passion is cycling. I would like to bring all the experience I have gained to grow this sport in my home country”, says Bakang confidently.