EDITOR’S CHOICE: Category — SPORTS
Botswana’s muscle man, Gontse Sechele, made history when he took second position at Mr Universe World Fitness Federation (WFF), the world’s biggest bodybuilding competition, in the USA in June 2016. Sechele qualified for the title last year when he came third at the World Championships in South Africa.
Sechele’s stardom has humble beginnings. The youngest of seven children and raised by a single mother, Sechele discovered his passion for fitness while running the long distances between school and his home village of Mathangwane. Gradually gaining a love for exercise and a respect for the discipline required, he later became captain of the power-lifting club at Shashe River School.
By 2003, through the assistance of good Samaritans, Sechele was taking part in body building competitions. He won best overall in a competition in Francistown in 2008 and went on to win first position in Mr Botswana in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Sadly his mother passed away just before the 2010 Mr Botswana competition, but Sechele mustered enough courage to take second position in her honour.
“It was a miracle that I even made it on to the stage. She was my biggest fan and her passing really hit me hard,” he says.
In 2012 Sechele turned to the international stage. He came fourth in the Mr Africa title in Zimbabwe. Two years later, he represented the National Amateur Body Building Association of South Africa (NABBA) at the GNC Muscle pump WFF Universe Championships in Seoul, Korea, and won third place.
In November 2014, Sechele, under the sponsorship of O3 Media, made it to the top 10 in the WFF World Championships in Queensland, Australia. He then scooped third place in the World Championships in South Africa in 2015. This position qualified Sechele for the WFF championships in USA in 2016, where he placed second at the Mr Universe WFF competition.
Thanks to the ongoing support of private donors and the most recent sponsorship from the ministry of environment wildlife and tourism and Botswana Tourism Organisation, Sechele is optimistic that a world title is imminent.
“I believe I am on the right track. Together with my trainer and my backers, I believe we are ready to conquer the world,” he says.
Sechele is now looking to challenge for the crown at the upcoming championships in the Republic of Ireland in November. — SPIKE GANETSANG