After successfully competing at the All Japan Karate Association (JKA) Africa Cup in South Africa last week the All JKA team is now preparing in advance to the 2017 World Karate Championships in Japan. The team wants to go and compete there for the first time in the history of Botswana. In preparation for this big tournament JKA Botswana’s Keone Kgorotlhe said they will have a tournament next year with the neighbouring African countries to smooth their skills because they don’t want to go there to bring home medals.
In the just-ended JKA Africa Cup there were nine countries which were represented including some of the JKA’s top instructors from Japan who came to conduct trainings and courses. Kgorotlhe said having seen some of these countries do well in other international competitions as the Botswana team they set a target of 15 medals, but against all odds the team did beyond its expectation and scooped a total number of 35 medals coming second behind South Africa. “South Africa had an advantage of fielding more than two participants in each category and in all categories that is why they beat us in medals,” he said.
One of the local aspiring students Titus Ponatshego brought home three medals being gold in individual Kumite, silver in senior men team kata, and bronze individual kata. One of the long serving JKA female athletes Waabo Anwar also brought home three medals which were gold in individual kumite, silver in female team kata and bronze in female team B Kumite. In the 9-10 years category team Botswana fielded a promising star in the making in the likes of Kgole Bareeleng who scooped gold in the individual Kumite and came back again in the same category to snatch a silver medal.
Kgorotlhe said another performance that stunned them was from the silver medalist of the just passed All Africa games held in Congo Brazzaville and a bronze medalist at the Commonwealth games which were in India Lame Hetanang. She came home with three medals being gold in female team Kumite, silver in female team kata and silver and women individual kumite, According to Kgorotlhe, the men’s senior team was also a marvel to watch. The next JKA All Africa Cup will be held in 2018.