Botswana is set to host the 2019 African Karate Championships from the 9th -14th July 2019, taking from Cameroon who was the hosts on 2017.
When speaking to WeekendSport this week, Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) President Tshepo Bathai said they are set to receive more than 40 African countries that will compete in African karate championships. “This is important events as it will be used as qualifiers for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics games and also World Beach games,” he noted. “The preparations are ongoing and we have started to source funds as we speak.”
Bathai said they are expected to officially launch the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) on Wednesday, with Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport & Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama officiating. “Ministry is really helpful and am grateful to the assistance am getting from Tshekedi Khama,” he said. He further said Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) will also be assisting up with Anti-doping facility at the championship and they will also get technical expert from outside the country to assist in team preparation.
“World Karate Vice President Bechir Cherif is expected to be at the launch of the LOC, his main purpose of the visit is to check the progress we have made in preparing for the event. He is also scheduled to meet BNSC, BNOC, BOKA and MYESC,” said BOKA president.
Local Karateka Sensei Ofentse Bakwadi; who made history in 2017 by becoming the first ever ‘black’ African to win an individual Gold medal at the Union Federation of African Karate (UFAK) said he is ready for the upcoming African Karate Championships.
Bakwadi said he has since started to prepare for the tournament. “I train four hours in the morning and I do two hours in the evening. It’s a hectic regime and its working as I see improvement,” he told WeekendSport. “Am also planning to go to Japan and Australia for intensive training in order to enhance or sharpen up my technical performance,”
He indicated that sources of funds are major challenge towards preparing for the tournament, imploring the business community to assist him with sponsorships. Bakwadi said he just finished the national selection tournaments and the finals are set for March 30 as a way of preparing for the upcoming Zone 6 games set for May in 2019. Bakwadi said he plans to defend his gold medal which he scooped in 2017 games which was held in Cameroon.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.