Team Botswana defends AUSC title

23rd June 2017
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Botswana Karate Team Source:The Midweek Sun

The Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) has set a target of 30 medals from 40 athletes expected to compete at the 2017 Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 championships scheduled for Maputo, Mozambique this weekend.

The team is expected to leave for Mozambique tomorrow (Thursday). BOKA recently exceeded expectations at the Union Federation of African (UFAK) Karate Championships in Cameroon, scooping seven medals with a team of nine athletes.

As they will be heading to Region 5, there is no doubt that Botswana, who are defending champions will live up to their reputation. The team will be led by the AUSC defending champion Ofentse Bakwadi, the sensational Thabang Setshego and Phillip Revaka while the female side will also feature strong athletes like Lame Hetanang and Merylin Manthe.

The internationally recognised team captain Bakwadi is still in a jovial mood after winning gold at UFAK competitions, he is expected to use the tournament to better his skills and strength ahead of the Commonwealth championships scheduled for later this year. “I am not in any pressure, I strive for self- improvement, there is some kid in South Africa, he was defending African Champion in Cameroon, but I showed him my true colours in the finals and I snatched the title.

I also left him in stitches last year during the Zone 6 tournament, I expect uproar from him, he is good but I will not be really competing but aiming for good results,” Bakwadi said when reached for comment. Quizzed about the team’s readiness, the association spokesperson Isaiah Ramontshonyane said they went all out to assemble a strong team ahead of the competition based on their current performances.

He strongly dismissed claims of bias and favouritism when selecting the team. “Every karateka is important to BOKA and all are equal before our eyes but it is impossible to take the whole team, we will always be faced with the bitter truth that some have to remain behind depending on the budget,” he said. Moreover, the list shows an equal number of female and male athletes while majority of the team are U17 and below categories.

Ramontshonyane said they deliberately focused on women and the developing side of the team so as to empower them and offer them the same opportunities as men. BOKA president Tshepo Bathai will be heading the delegation to Maputo that also comprises four team managers being Sam Dire, Pule Kwelagobe, Lere Basupang and Mothusi Tsime.

There is also senior team head Coach Otto Tafa and his assistant Peter Molefe. Christopher Ponatshego and Keone Kgorothe will be in charge of the under 21 whereas Goitseone Mongologa and Otsile Motsamai will be coaching the junior team. Mpho Bakwadi, Union Kgafela, Boston Rakgampu, Mompati Kwati, Nshingi Mosalagae, Kgosietsile Dibotelo will be joining the team as referees.

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