Botswana Botswana Botswana

Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe, "Mudongo Wins Cuban Sports Scholarship,"  Mmegi/The Reporter, 9 August 2005 (Gaborone, Botswana)

Botswana's top female chess player, Boikhutso Mudongo will study in Cuba soon after winning a four-year sports scholarship offered by the Cuban government this year. Mudongo told Mmegi Sport that she would be flying to Cuba at the end of this month to study Physical education as well as chess, at the international school of arts in Havana.

She will be studying at the same college that hosted volleyball stars
Shadrack Kapeko, Peaceful Seleka and boxer Khumiso Ikgopoleng when they went there on Botswana National Sports Council's elite scholarship. Mudongo will be reading for a four year degree programme but she says according to the schedule, she will be training chess in the afternoons and doing academic studies in the mornings.

Asked to comment on the calibre of Cuban chess, Mudongo was upbeat about her chances of progress. She says Cuba is ranked ninth in the world of chess rankings. She says she has also observed that their Olympiad team is made up of highly rated players, " They are all rated above 2600 or thereabout, which is more like grand-master stuff, so definitely going there will benefit my chess tremendously", Mudongo said.

WFM Boikhutso Mudongo.

She becomes the first chess player to be granted scholarship to study abroad. She is also the first chess player to be extended Zebra fund by the sports Council, after she brought home a bronze from the 2003 Olympiad in Slovenia. By winning an Olympiad medal in 2003, Mudongo became the first African woman chess player ever to win a medal at this level of competition.

After her 2003 feat, Mudongo won another medal at the 2004 Abuja All Africa Games. Last week, she completed a course in business studies at Gaborone technical college. As a chess player, Mudongo is a member of Gaborone club, Bonyonyo, which was recently crowned league champions.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 19 August 2005