Karate votes back rejected Bathai
For Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) elections last week, it was a case of ‘same monkey different tree’ as Sensei Tshepo Bathai got a second bite of the cherry bouncing back to karate’s hot seat after being forced out following a motion of no confidence three years ago.
The modus operandi of the president is rooted on the same document that was never implemented in 2014 after he white-washed Sensei Million Masumbika. “Actually there is nothing new, I want to push whatever I started in 2014. I came up with a lot of things which people didn’t trust,” he said on Tuesday when asked about what is he bringing to the sport.
However the only difference this time around is that Bathai will communicate with the affiliates on whatever project they will kick-start as the committee. “We will have to improve on communication, and on the 28th we are going for a retreat to discuss the action plan and thereafter we will call the affiliates to endorse it,” he said.
Bathai’s campaign document, which is dubbed agenda 2017-2020 which convinced members to give him the nod ahead of former Vice President Technical Mpho Bakwadi. The election results, according to affiliates give karate a glimpse of hope. Bathai’s team hopes to concentrate on the technical aspect of the sport to consolidate karate as the best medal hauler code in the country.
In the document, Bathai first talks about Karate Premier League which will be a series of world class Karate competitions recognized and supported by the Botswana Karate Association. “Its aim is to bring together the best Karate competitors in Botswana in a series of open championships of unprecedented scale and quality. In addition to the Botswana Open Karate Championships, which are biennial events, the KPL provide a platform for staging Karate events on a regular basis and thus enhances interest of the public and the media, both nationally and worldwide,” Bathai envisions.
Secondly the former karateka aims to have High Performance Development Programme which will focus on exposing the young athlete to cutting edge training techniques based on WKF competition training. Athletes according to the programme will learn combination of tactical, physical and mental competitive training as they move through the ‘Train to Train’ and ‘Train to Compete’ stages of elite training and development. “Participants of this program will attend bi-monthly training sessions with a focus on sport science, metrics and measured skill development under a specialized coaching staff.”
Further karate will come up with project 1000 whereby they intend to have 1000 clubs in schools by the year 2020. Again the formulation of Botswana International Open Karate Championship will provide the much needed international exposure for the athletes at a minimal cost. Bathai’s term will also bring BOKA Awards to recognize karateka for achievements. National Coaches Certification Framework, to certify all karateka who teaches Karate in all clubs in Botswana Chief Instructors Development Programme.
Chief Instructors are the backbone of Karate in Botswana and therefore, it’s a must for them to be developed. Referees Accreditation Framework. “For us to have successful championships and very good athletes, we should have world class referees and formalized guiding tool for their development” Bathai said.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”