Kgotla Alphius Ntona Kgaswane has once again made history by qualifying for Commonwealth games, under weightlifting category. Kgaswane’s coach, Alex Rankgwe confirmed in an interview with WeekendSport. Rankgwe pointed out that it is not the first time Kgaswane qualified for the Commonwealth games.
He said, “yes Kgotla qualified for the Commonwealth games, and it is not his first time qualifying. The first time he qualified for the Commonwealth was in 2018 when he was just 18 years old. I must admit that the journey was not easy this time around, because originally, we had 4 years gap to prepare but because of COVID-19 we only had a year. As a result, we had to move Kgotla from the 61kg category down to the 55kg category, so he seriously had to lose weight in a space of a month of which he did. We went to Mauritius on the 24 February until 2nd March 2022 where he qualified for the Commonwealth games. Kgotla did exceptionally well because he was in top 9 in the world under Commonwealth countries. He came with silver from Mauritius and was ranked position 9 and automatically qualified for the Commonwealth games.”
Rankgwe pointed out they have about 3 months before the Commonwealth games and admitted that they are feeling the pressure. He highlighted that his schedule and that of Kgotla have been hectic, he said being a teacher it has been hectic because of the introduction of shifts in classes. Rankgwe said the shift that was introduced when Covid-19 hit have put a strain in their training pattern. He also pointed out that with Kgotla now at tertiary school it has not been easy to find time to train as it were when he was still in senior school because of his schedule.
The coach highlighted that the other challenge is that they do not have enough equipment to train but are however utilizing every available equipment offered to them. He pointed out that Botswana Sports Council has allowed them to train at their facilities.
Rankgwe said he is really worried about not having enough female participating in weightlifting sport. He said they always have large group of females when they are still growing, but the moment they are admitted at tertiary school they drop the sport.
He said, “I would really love to have more female athletes in my team. I have one gal I am currently training, and I must say she is really promising. I know that some parents do not want their children to be part of weightlifting because they think they will be vulnerable to broken bones. I can assure them that 99% of injuries in our sports are not broken bones but rather dislocated bone or muscle pull but it is not always about broken bones. Weightlift is about building strength and flexibility of athletes more than anything else, it is not necessarily about athletes having big muscles.”
Kgaswane could not hide his excitement as he said he is more than ready for the Commonwealth games. He said though it was a rough journey he has been ready ever since he qualified for the games, “I am ready to make history. I got only one expectation and that is to push my body harder than before. I want to go beyond my limit so that by July I would be ready to fight for a podium finish and make history again.”
The 22-year-old revealed that losing weight was one of the hardest things he ever had to do. He said the plan was for him to lose 1.5kg a day to avoid injuries because their sport is prone to injuries, and they needed to be careful. Kgaswane highlighted that he lost about 11kg in a period of a month, “it was a tough transition, I had to cut a lot of cabs, had to reduce my water intake and the painful part was that I had to train four times a day. I had to train early in the morning, I had to go for a 6km run, then go for my morning training session. I would then rest until my afternoon training session, then wrap up my training with my 4km evening jog.”
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