Malunga Chases Elusive World Championship Medal

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Karate Superstar Thato Malunga of SSG Karate Club recently lost out on an opportunity to fight for a gold medal at this year’s World Karate Federation Championships in Germany. The 24 year old, who has won everything except a medal at a World Ranking tournament, was disappointed when administrative mishaps disrupted Team Botswana’s trip to the Championships. The trip was cancelled after four members of Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) executive committee quit their posts. However, two of them have since returned. BOKA Public Relations Officer Andrew Dobolo, who was one of the two who rejoined the BOKA executive, said they quit their posts because they were disgruntled with mismanagement by their President, Tshepo Bathai. The matter reached the BNSC which overlooked BOKA’s request for funds to finance the trip to Germany and instead commissioned an inquiry into why four members of the Association’s executive had resigned. This week the BNSC office confirmed that a task force had been set up to carry out the inquiry, adding that investigations were still in progress. Malunga would have relished an opportunity to fight for gold at the World Championships which were held in Bremen, Germany from November 5th-9th. The karate sensation was introduced to karate at a tender age of nine years and participated in her first competitive tournament in 2003 where she won gold and made her national team debut. On the same year she represented Botswana at the Zone 6 Championships, winning silver and bronze medals. Her moment of truth came in 2005 at the Zone 6 Championships in Botswana. Malunga performed exceptionally well and won two gold medals at the tournament. She was also voted Best Sports Person of the Tournament. In 2011, Malunga won international acclaim when she clinched gold, silver and bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Asked about her recipe fro success, Malunga said she has persevered because of hard work and parental guidance. “Parental guidance is vital. The encouragement and support that a child gets from her parents is priceless,” she said. To add to her accomplishments, Malunga is now pursuing a world gold medal. With her track record, all she needs is a stage to realize that dream. While the dream has been deferred for now, it will no doubt be realised.