Mmegi Online :: Cold reception for Branch
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Last Updated
Wednesday 22 May 2019, 19:50 pm.
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Cold reception for Branch

The Botswana Motor Sport (BMS) vice president, Vincent Crosbie was left disappointed at the low turnout when Dakar Rally hero, Ross Branch touched down at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on Tuesday.
By Kabelo Boranabi Wed 23 Jan 2019, 13:53 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Cold reception for Branch








Branch became the second Motswana to compete at the iconic event where he won the best Rookie award while finishing 13th overall.  As the rider arrived at the airport on Tuesday evening, only a handful of people turned out to embrace their hero while many prominent sport figures including the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) shunned the occasion.  However, the new Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama was present. 

"Ross has done really well, he has climbed mountains in Dakar. For him to go there is an achievement on it's own and to win the rookie award is massive. For him it's a personal achievement and for the country is a massive achievement and a milestone for us.  I was expecting a lot more people; I was hoping we would have been able to give him a bigger recognition. But in our hearts, Ross is still number one, that's what counts, to us, Ross is a hero," Crosbie said.  He blamed the poor turn out on the little support that motor sport receives in the country. 

"Motor sport is not well covered. People only hear about us towards the end.  With

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Ross people started to hear about him at the end, I would have hoped for more support.  Motor sport in Botswana is growing.  With what Ross has done, hopefully we would be able to reach the top," he said. As Khama embraced him after emerging off the arrival lounge, Branch exclaimed, "Thank you for coming sir.  It really means a lot to me," as he firmly shook the minister's hand. 

Speaking to journalists at the airport, Branch chose not to focus on the poor turnout, but said he was happy to make 'his country proud' at the prestigious event. "It was a long trip to get there. I loved every second of being there. I'm so happy I could represent Botswana to the fullest.  I held my country flag this was very close to my heart. I love my country and I hope I have done them very proud." 

"I wanted to get into the top 20, getting the best Rookie award means everything.  I would like to go back and compete for a top 10 finish and maybe push one stage win or two. It was difficult to go there," he said.

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