Fencing in anti-climax year finale

26th October 2017
LAST DUEL: BAFS held a championship Source:The Midweek Sun

The troubled Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS) held its national championships in Gaborone this past weekend. The championships marked the end of the tumultuous 2017 calendar for the fairly new sport code. BAFS has had its fair share of controversy this year with a divided committee that spilled over to affect affiliates.

Nevertheless, the last BAFS event of the year dished out some entertaining duels. One of the most entertaining matches featured the 2014 Africa youth games athletes being Aobakwe Modise and Thabile Pilane. The two athletes met in at BAFS senior women finals. The senior women epee category was an entertaining student vs. Master duel were Aobakwe Modise against her apprentice Thabile Pilane.

The student versus teacher clash saw Modise emerge as winner against Pilane who is also her teammate. Modise who is among the three local fencing masters locally proved to be a level above her opponent. “I still want to play as opposed to coaching. I want to be an Olympian,” said the ambitious Modise. Pilane lost the match 16-15, though she defeated her master 5-3 during the pool stage.

“We always give each other competition. I am hoping to do well in the future,” explained the 2014 Africa Youth Games quarter finalist. Pilane is positive that she will soon become a master by beating her mentor. Boikobo Nkwe got a gold medal without competing due to shortage of competitors. “I was playing against boys, I think I did very well though I lost all games,” said Nkwe.

The 20 year old Tlokweng based athlete expressed disappointment over winning gold after failing to get an opponent. Chape confirmed that Boikobo walked through to the finals because she did not have opponents on the day. Meanwhile BAFS technical director Stan Chape said the tournament went well even though attendance was poor on the day.

Moreover Chape explained that internal politics at BAFS affected their calendar of events negatively as BNSC suspended their activities at one point. “We were placed on hold by BNSC for some time due to unforeseen circumstances, this is our second tournament this year,” explained the BAFS TD. Chape is however hopeful that they will have another tournament before the end of the year.

BAFS has about seven affiliated clubs, mostly academies and schools. Fencing has four age categories, which includes the Benjamins aged between 7-9 years, the Cadets aged 9-14 years, the 15-19 category is known as juniors and the seniors from 20-39 years old. According to Chape, the BAFS plans to add a veteran’s category in the future which will include adults from 40 year plus.

Chape, Karabo Thobega and Modise are the only trained officials to umpire and coach fencing sport. The three were sent for training in Senegal a few years ago. BAFS rank athletes before considering them for national team. The tournament winner gains 8 points, silver medallist 6, position 3 and 4 gain 4 points apiece.

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