Boxing Duo Gears Up for Olympic Qualification in Bosnia 

  • Bosnian decision comes in the aftermath of poor showing by Botswana pugilists in Dakar


In a bid to secure coveted spots in the Paris 2024 Olympics, Botswana’s boxing hopefuls Keamogetse Kenosi and Rajab Otukile are set to go into an international training camp in Bosnia.

The two aim to fine-tune their skills in Bosnia before they head to the 1st World Olympic Qualification Tournament that is scheduled to be held in Busto Arzizio, Italy from 29 February to 12 March 2024.

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a total of 50 athletes made up of 22 women and 28 men will earn their places through the 1st World Qualification Tournament.

Sparring partners

“We are really doing our best to ensure that they qualify,” said the Secretory General of Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) Taolo Tlouetsile, in a telephone interview.

He added that efforts are underway to include their sparring partners. “We are still engaging the Botswana National Olympic Committee to allow their sparring partners to go with them to Bosnia,” he said. “This would be good for them as they would be training with people they know.”

The decision to send a team to these two international trips follows the disappointing performance of Botswana pugilists at the African boxing qualification event in Dakar, Senegal in September last year where they failed to qualify for the Olympics.

Strategic move

Mohammed and Kenosi, who both represented the country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, bring renewed hope to BoBA after the nation’s absence at the 2016 Olympics.

“The team’s participation in the qualifiers reflects a strategic move to reclaim a position on the grand Olympic stage,” Tlouetsile said.

He shared that poor lighting in the hall was a setback at BoBA’s second tournament of the year which was held at the University of Botswana in Gaborone. “It went well but we couldn’t finish the tournament due to poor lighting in the hall,” he said.

124 women and 124 men

“The hosting club tried their best to find the lights but failed. The hall they had initially booked was taken by the IEC for voter registration.”

Meanwhile, the historical context of boxing adds significance to these athletes’ journeys. The IOC website shows that boxing first made its appearance at the Ancient Olympic Games in 688 BCE and subsequently debuted in the modern Olympics at St. Louis in 1904.

At the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, a total of 248 boxers made up of 124 women and 124 men will compete, showcasing the sport’s global inclusivity.