Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) has stepped up preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic qualifiers. Seven boxers made up of five men and two ladies, who have been in camp locally since November, left for Morocco on Sunday for further training.
BOBA spokesperson, Kenny Maragana, said their boxers will meet others from top countries France, Uzbekistan and Arab countries in Morocco. He said that they are proud that they managed to send the athletes to the camp because it is a world class camp which attracts top athletes. “We had never secured any international camp. We always had friendly games with Southern African countries where Botswana always came on top as champions,” he said.
Maragana said is confident that most of the athletes on camp can qualify for the Olympics. Botswana has had representation in boxing at the Olympics with the likes of Lechedzani Master Luza, Oteng Oteng and Khumiso Ikgopoleng who is the only local boxer to have reached Olympics quarter finals.
Marangana wants those that qualify to exceed Ikgopoleng’s achievements, which will land them at a medal table. He said hopes three male boxers and at least one female boxer will qualify. “With the positive results that we saw in the camp we are very hopeful for the best,” he said. One of the team coaches Thebe Setlalekgosi expressed his confidence in the team. Setlalekgosi said the athletes are in great form having been in camp since last year. “We have given them whatever that they need to be able to match up with the rest of other athletes around Africa in the qualifiers,” he said. He also said he expects at least three men to qualify.
From Africa only three ladies can qualify because only a gold medalist in each category is the one that will be able to go to the Olympics. He said the ladies’ team is a new, but they do not want to undermine them. “They are fine, they are the best we could do,” Setlalekgosi said,” One of the fine boxers in the country who is also part of the camp Kagiso Bagwasi agreed with his officials that they are raring to conquer the world. He is very positive that he will find himself at the Olympics in Rio.