Bob Holt OBE is one of the UK’s most acclaimed businessmen but what many people in the business community might not realize is that amongst his many philanthropic endeavours to help those in need, he also gets behind rising sports stars via his charity The Holt Trust.
The Holt Trust provides grants to disabled and able-bodied young people under the age of 25, who are looking to achieve their full potential in their chosen amateur sport.
Bob’s mission is to support those individuals to assist them in achieving their full potential. Hosana Kitenge is one such individual and is growing fast in the field of basketball. He is proving to us all that it won’t take him long to be recognized for the sport’s superstar he really is.
Hosana currently attends Charnwood College of Education and plays for the Loughborough Student Riders Club. The amateur club is linked to the Leicester Riders 1st team – a team of professional international players.
As beneficiary of The Holt Trust, Hosana has been able to remain in the UK and play for the club that will, one day, be responsible for taking him into the spotlight of this wholesome sport. It has evolved since it was invented 228 years ago in Massachusetts, USA to become one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports.
At the professional level, most male players are taller than 1.91m (6ft 3in). Hosana who stands at just over 2 metres with a giant wingspan of 2.2m (7ft 2in) is firmly known as one of the most recognized within junior British Basketball. With basketball having a fan base in excess of 400 million and one of the top 10 most popular sports in the world, it will not be long before this determined young man is recognized globally for his incredible talent.
Hosana’s family, who has a strong connection with sport, is from The Democratic Republic of Congo but Hosana grew up in Cardiff, Wales. At the age of 11, he moved to England where he still resides. Being extremely active as a young child, he joined every sports team possible. Always one of the most athletic school children, it was only natural that he was first choice for representing his school.
Hosana’s father is an ex footballer and a black belt in Karate. With his mother also being an ex basketball player and siblings who represented their country multiple times across a range of sports, it is no surprise there is a ‘Great’ being born in Hosana.
The Basketball buzz began for him when he was around 9 years old. He was actively playing football and rugby at the time, going on to captain both sports throughout his school life. He was also an avid spectator at his family’s basketball events and thus began his thirst for the sport also. At just 14 he made his international debut, marking the start of something serious.
During Hosana’s life at secondary school in Sussex, England, he joined the Crawley Cages; now known as Crawley Storm. He has represented Great Britain for the past 4 years on an international stage and is aiming to step up from the junior team to the senior team in the coming few years.
Always positive and enthusiastic, Hosanna spoke about what the sport means to him “Sport is second nature to me. I’ve been around sports all my life and it is something that has always brought me joy. When I look back at all the sports I’ve played, it helps me realise how many opportunities and doors it has opened for me and reminds me how fortunate I am to be in the situation I am in today”.
Hosana, who currently plays in Loughborough Student Riders and Leicester Riders in the NBL and BBL, has competed in many competitions and tournaments at various levels including U14 Final Fours, Sheffield, U16 Final Fours Manchester, U16 European Championships Bulgaria, U18 European Championships Estonia, U18 Cup Final Worcester and the U18 European Championships Latvia. He is an impressive 3 time finals MVP (most valuable player) in the national league.
So what now? “I have recently won a scholarship to go and pursue my dream of playing collegiate basketball in America at the school of my dreams, Coastal Carolina in the NCAA Division 1 Sunbelt Conference”.
The NCAA is the highest division possible in the world, before turning pro which shows this man is as determined as ever when he speaks about his ambitions for the future “I want to have a great college career and make a living playing basketball at the highest level and create an environment and pathway for the people I am inspiring who are coming up behind me”
Sport will not be his only focus in 2019. In August he is due to travel to South Carolina to study international business at university and will be joining the 1st division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. With a firm plan like this in the pipeline, Hosana is forever grateful for getting that early support from The Holt Trust which has allowed him to set off on the right tracks.
Bob Holt OBE, Founder and Trustee of the charity is proud to support athletes like this “there is no doubt in my mind that Hosana’s appreciation of where he is today will carry him to the height of success he clearly is determined to reach. This attitude is precisely the reason I founded the charity and I look forward to watching Hosana achieve his goals.”
With ‘The Great Hosana Kitenge’ becoming a popular reference used by sports PR, it won’t be long before he proudly carries that off in world sporting circles. His personal growth in basketball is fast – as is he!
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