Botswana Karate senior team will be represented by All Africa Congo,Braziville 2016 medalists Ofentse Bakwadi and Lame Hetanang on the back of pulling out by Thato Malunga, Merillyn Manthe and the Ladies Kumite team.
For the 23rd World Senior Championships in Linz, Austria, the criterion for athletes permit medal winners in last year’s All Africa games to participate in the 5-day tournament. A total of 1238 athletes from 118 countries have so far confirmed their participation in the eagerly awaited tournament, a record breaking tally since its inception.
The 2016 BNSC sportsman of the year nominee, Bakwadi will take part in the Under 67kg man’s kumite and Individual Kata, while female counterpart Hetanang will compete in the Ladies Under 50kg Kumite.
Undoubtedly all medals hopes will be pinned on the two athletes, who have become established in the continental competitions down the years, however there will be familiar with the task beforehand.
Last month, Pinetown (SA) JKA instructor Krin Prinsloo was invited by BOKA to prepare for the tournament combined with various grueling training sessions at the SSKB Karate team. This publication understands that the experienced instructor was brought in specifically for the ladies training having won almost every accolade in all female categories.
“Prinsloo is an experienced campaigner, so we are sure that Hetanang learnt a lot from her when she came here along with other girls. As we all know,Malunga has been ommitted from the squad due to academic reasons while the other girls are not part of Zebra fund policy,” senior team coach Peter Molefhe told Gazette Sport.
Quizzed by the publication on the mandate set before the tournament, Molefhe hesitatingly stated his two karatekeas would not add up numbers and would compete for honors.
“We have never won a medal at the Senior World Championships and of late we have realized that the Arab countries (Tunisia,Algeria) do well in the competition, so we do fancy our chances this time around because we usually dominate them in Africa,” Molefhe stated.
Notably, the Championships in Linz will beat the previous outstanding marks of athletes from 116 in Bremen (Germany) in 2014 and the 990 entrants from 116 countries in Paris (France) 2012.
More than 500 officials, over 200 coaches and 213 referees are also confirmed to take part in the Championships, demonstrating Karate’s strong influence as a global sports.