As preparations for the 2017 WKF Junior, Cadent & U-21 World Championships kicks start this weekend Botswana Karate Association’s (BOKA) hopes are high that they will eventually win a medal from the tournament. According to BOKA Public Relations Officer Isaiah Ramontshonyane, Botswana has never won a medal in the competition. However, Ramontshonyane said they are aiming for at least one medal in the championships that will be held from 25-29 October in Spain. Ramontshonyane’s confidence for a medal is boosted by the current good performance of the local karatekas in different competitions. The current good results that have been displayed has given BOKA hope that finally a medal will come out of the highly regarded competition. He said the young players have a lot to offer and have great confidence on them. He singled out players Tlotlang Ponatshego and Setshego how he said are currently doing very well. “Looking at their performance at the moment, it gives us hope that we will get something from this competition.
The team that will represent Botswana at the championships started its training this weekend under the tutelage two coaches of the U-17 and U-21 categories. Botswana has in the past send one or two athletes to this competition. However, with a number of players now impressing and in good form the number is likely to grow. Ramontshonyane nonetheless said the number will depend on the budget. “Administratively preparations are on-going to determine how many athletes will be sent to the competition. This will be determined looking at how much our budget can stretch,” said the PRO. Other than a medal BOKA will be looking to take advantage of the WKF Junior, Cadent & U-21 World Championships for the athletes to qualify for the Youth Olympics. As the event is used for Youth Olympic qualifiers Ramontshonyane said the competition provides a great opportunity for the local athletes.
Karate is one of the best performing sport codes in Botswana currently. Asked what this might be credited to he pointed to the athletes’ hard work and determination in what they do. He also said the development strategy at BOKA is beginning to pay off as more young athletes are being realised. He said since all the association’s commissions are functional, player development has become easy to attain. He, however, said as the association they will continue to strengthen the development structures so that high quality athletes can be produced and continue flying the flag of Botswana in the international arena.