Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) has received a major financial boost for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The local boxing governing body has received P1.1 million towards the preparations of the summer games.
Following a successful display at the Africa Zone 4.3 championship where local pugilists dominated and won the tournament, BoBA has come up with a robust programme specifically for the Olympic Games.
BoBA’s efforts come at a time in which Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is battling with raising funds for preparations of all athletes who will qualify for the games. With that, BNOC is currently running a robust SMS donation campaign in order to raise funds and meet their target of winning four medals in Tokyo.
BoBA leadership has vowed to channel most of the resources towards the preparations of the Tokyo Games in order to make sure that at least some of the national team boxers qualify for the world’s biggest games.
Boxing performance has been on a downward spiral in the past years more especially with boxers failing to qualify for the Olympics. The last time when a Botswana boxer qualified for the Olympics was in 2012 for the London games courtesy of Oteng Oteng.
Local boxers failed to qualify for the 2016 games which were staged in Brazil. However, BoBA believes this time around they should do everything in their power to at least send one boxer to Tokyo.
“We have already started using our funds en route to Tokyo. The team is already out in Thailand for a training camp and international tournaments from there they will be heading to France before the All Africa games. This allows our boxers to gauge themselves with the best boxers from across the world. Our aim is to keep the team very busy and to have international exposure because our main target is to qualify for Tokyo games. But since we missed the previous Olympics we are mostly hoping for at least one boxer or more if we are lucky to qualify,” said Thato Patlakwe, BoBA president.
Team Botswana currently comprise of Kobamelo Molatlhegi, Mohammed Otukile, George Molwantwa, Treasure Moremi, Pitso Mmopiemang and Mmusi Tswiige in the men’s section while in the ladies section it is Aratwa Kasemang, Lethabo Modukanele and Keamogetse Kenosi.
Under the leadership of coach Lechedzani Luza, hopes are high that at least the duo of Tswiige and Otukile stand a better chance to qualify based on their experience in the game. Tswiige is most experienced member of the team having competed in many international tournaments in the past years. Since he is regarded to be on his peak, time is now for him to really prove his mettle by qualifying for the Olympics Otukile’s boxing career has been on the rise having been the only local boxer who graced the World Boxing Championships in Germany in 2017.
Africa is allocated three slots per weight category at the Olympics and therefore with African Olympics Qualifiers expected next year between January and April it is expected that the two boxers (Tswiige & Otukile) will rise to the occasion and secure some spots at the games. “Though we are grateful of the funding, it is not enough when looking at the timeframe. We are going to be forced to reduce our team. And that reduction will depend on our expenses as time goes on but we will love to see the corporate sector getting involved and extending a helping hand. As of now we need an additional P2.5million. Our belief is that no athlete who has a better chance of qualifying should be disadvantaged due to issues of funding. So we will continue to re-engage the BNOC, BNSC and government at large for possible help,” said Patlakwe.