Lesego Motladiile’s father, Oabona is one of the country's most decorated bowlers. Today, Motladiile is on a path to emulate her father's achievements.
At 23, she is one of the youngest talented bowlers. “I am a bowler. My parents introduced me to the sport when I was young. It was more like a family game we played together.
They used to take me and my sister, Tumelo to the Phikwe bowling club and that is how I developed the love [for the sport] and started practising,” the Selebi-Phikwe-born bowler said. Motladiile said her father took her through the sport and taught her a few tricks. She said before she knew it, she was already competing and winning titles. “Just like any other l child raised by very active and competitive parents, I was always encouraged to focus on co-curricular activities at school.
At Kopano Primary School I played netball, softball and did swimming for the school team. I did all these sports while still active in bowling,” she said. Motladiile has always been an energetic player who loved winning from a young age. Every sport that she took part in, saw her give her best and she would be distraught whenever she failed to win. “But being an optimistic soul, I have always hoped for better results next time and that always kept me going and gave me the zeal I have always yearned for to keep competing and becoming a better person,” Motladiile said. She does not remember the first time she threw a bowl because she was young and could not even fit the smallest size bowl in her hand. Motladiile turned professional at the age of 10 and took part in her first national competition at 11 years of age. “My father has been my life-time coach and he was part of the Botswana national team at the time.
He travelled to so many places around the world because of bowling, and that motivated me each day to become a pro at the game, as I also wanted to travel the world. He told me each day I had to practice hard to be the best then I would be able to travel the world like him,” she said with pride. Motladiile made her debut in the National Championships, playing as a lead for the Phikwe women’s team. The team walked away with a silver medal. “At the time I was titled the youngest player in the history of Botswana to win a medal in the national championship. I have quite a handful of achievements in this sport. I have held the Botswana youth championship title for five years in a row and achieved two silver medals in the same competition. I played skip for the Phikwe team in 2016 in the nationals and got to the finals and won a silver medal. I also won a gold medal in 2019 in the women’s pairs with Marea Modutlwa in the Peter Richard Invitation pairs,” she said. Motladiile said she has also won a few major club competitions throughout the years and has lost count.
She said her biggest achievement was when she represented Botswana in Australia for the World Youth Championship in 2017. “I feel most alive when I have the jack in my hand and ready to let it roll. It was through bowling that I got to learn a lot of life lessons,
I see so much beauty and ecstasy in this sport and I am a nature fanatic, so outdoor sport does it for me. Birds chirping, the green grass, the blue sky and clouds, the trees and much other fascinating stuff,” she said. The talented Motladiile said bowling is a relaxed sport and she gets sufficient time to concentrate and focus on other matters. She said the sport is designed to soothe the mind, and that is why older people mostly dominate bowls. “I have figured, it makes them feel young again. It makes them feel they can still become whatever they wish to be. I am also going to grow old playing this sport and I am sure a lot of my age mates 20 years from now would be playing with me,” she said. When asked what motivates her, Motladiile said motivation is everywhere. “At times, I am motivated by my opponent, at times by my strengths, courage, and sheer determination to keep going and sometimes I am motivated by winning. I never limit my mind and myself. I just like to be free and fly on the wings of my creativity soon as I have the bowl in my hands. I have worked on being a master in every aspect of the game.
It makes it difficult for my opponents to study me because I do not have limitations. I just flow like water. Even water does not know what its strengths are, but it knows if it flows at the right current and right direction, it would conquer wherever it goes, ” she said. Motladiile plays for Gaborone Bowling Club since relocating to the city from a faltering Selebi-Phikwe.
She said she is a ‘Jack of all trades’, able to play all positions, mostly lead, third and skip. “Well, I do not know what the future holds for me. Maybe one day I would become bowling (association) president, who knows.
I dream of playing bowling for eternity, what follows would just be the cherry on top for my love and consistency of this sport. I also do want to continue representing the country abroad and study this sport further, either on scholarship or however the opportunity may come about. I really wish to continue my bowling experience in Australia,” she said. Motladiile said she likes doing Art and she has always been good at it. “I have always been creative and I love being involved in décor and anything which requires me to be creative. I also enjoy cooking and baking. My family and friends always tell me how good my food and baking are,” she said. Motladiile appreciated the support of her family.
She said they have always shown support towards anything she wants to pursue. She said they are always willing to go an extra mile helping her achieve her dreams.
Full names: Lesego Motladiile
Date of birth: June 11, 1998
Place of birth: Selebi-Phikwe
Club: Gaborone Bowling Club
Position: Lead, third and skip
Achievements: Representing Botswana in Australia for the World Youth Championship in 2017, Pairs gold medal in 2019 in the Peter Richard Championship.
Favourite dish: Bogobe jwa lerotse with oxtail or beef stew and morogo wa dinawa.