The English Karate Federation is angry with Botswana Karate Association because it may
have to pick up the tab after members of Team Botswana baulked at the steep prices of the hotel rooms that was led to book for them and sought cheaper accommodation
Botswana’s national karate team is facing possible suspension from the Commonwealth Games after 51 hotel rooms booked for them by the English Karate Federation (EKF) were rejected them because they were too expensive.
The Games are set to begin on 7 September (today) in Birmingham, England with over 50 countries set to compete in both individual and team events (kata and kumite).
Team Botswana had initially confirmed a total of 51 participants and delegates through a high ranking official of Botswana karate Association who was in direct contact with EKF president Steve Coupland. However, Team Botswana has sent only 24 athletes to the Games.
The team arrived in batches and they have resorted to cheaper accommodation than what was reserved through the English official because they are all self-sponsored.
EFK president disappointed
EKF is reportedly aggrieved that they have been inconvenienced by BOKA because they must now inherit the bill that amounts to 17,000 Pounds (P253,060). In an exclusive interview with Gazette Sport, Coupland said he is disappointed by the BOKA official’s conduct.
“We are very angry that BOKA is not living up to their promise and have put us in a difficult situation,” he said. “I have been in talks with the official all along, assisting him with all the logistics and accommodation for his team.
“He reserved a total of 51 rooms for his team at the university hotel, including his an en suite room that costs over 708.00 Pounds (P10,503.75) and he has been promising me that he will deposit the money.
“He told me two days ago that he is no longer coming to the Games but still promised to pay. The consequences are that team Botswana might be withdrawn from the competition because we want to take the matter to the Commonwealth executive to deal with it and we are going to present a strong case.”
“Mind you, Botswana had missed their regional deadline and we had to make an exception for them because we trusted their federation president since he is on the Commonwealth executive board. We don’t have the money to compensate the hotel and we have to persuade Botswana to pay or else they might find themselves withdrawn from the competition,” he stressed.
A source inside the Botswana karate team told Gazette Sport that they were shocked to see the hotel prices that are far too expensive for them since they are self-sponsored. “All along we knew that our accommodation was ready and that we could afford it,” said the source. “We were shocked when we got there and had to resort to a cheaper hotel.”
“We have now been threatened that we might not even compete because of this issue. Another shocking issue in my whole life as an athlete I have never seen BOKA send a team of over 30 to any continental or international competition, but there were 51 rooms reserved for Team Botswana!”
Efforts to reach BOKA president Tshepo Bathai to establish if he had any knowledge of the matter proved futile when his phone rang unanswered.