18th October 2017
Church takes over BOKA dojo Source:The Midweek Sun

Athletes want the church removed from their dojo

We are not training because of that church-Athletes

I agree with athletes- BOKA President

Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) national team athletes are currently in a stand off with Rockland Family International Church of over the use of the association’s dojo. This week, Sun Sports learnt that BOKA has been renting the dojo to Rockland church for the past few years.

However, the relationship between the two is now turning sour after athletes accused disrupting their training program ahead of the Karate world championships in Spain. In an interview this week some BOKA athletes expressed concern over access to the training facility. According to the athletes who spoke on condition of anonymity, the facility is only available to them twice a week.

The rest of the days are said to be reserved for the church services. So frustrated are the athletes that they called on BOKA leadership to remove the church from the dojo. “All of a sudden they are a priority, how are we supposed to prepare for major tournaments if we train twice a week,” said a concerned athlete. The athletes argued that they do not understand the relationship between BOKA and the Church.

“This situation needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.” The athletes argued that they were no proper training or even camp and the unavailability of the hall was also a contributing factor. Reached for comment this week, BOKA president Tshepo Bathai said that the hall is a revenue stream and is available for renting.Nevertheless he agreed that the current setup was a bit unfair on his athletes. “I personally do not agree with the current arrangement and have communicated this to the committee, it is one of the issues on the table. The hall should be used for its primarily role, anything that comes after that is secondary," Bathai said.

Bathai explained that the church got into agreement with the association long before his committee assumed office last year. He said the contract has since elapsed and they will be looking to rectify the situation. For his part, the association spokesperson Isaiah Ramontshonyane said athletes are training well and they have not been encountering problems. He maintained that they have been in partnership with the church for a long time and yet they managed to produce good results. He however said they will be willing to bend if need be so as they do not inconvenience the athletes in any form. “That hall is for athletes and whenever we have Karate activities we inform the Church and they excuse us, there was no training camp because of insufficient funds,” Ramontshonyane said.

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