Judo national team eyes Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • As they depart for African Games
  • Promises to do well at the games to garner Olympics qualification points


Garnering points to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be on top of the judo national team’s agenda at the African Games, team coach Rukiya Murakami has noted.

The judo team departed for Rabat, Morocco today (Tuesday) to compete at the African Games with their competition set to begin on the 17th and elapse on the 19th of this month. Speaking in an interview with Gazette Sport , Murakami noted that his team is prepared and focused to do well at the games. “We understand that this competition is the most important in accumulating points for athletes to qualify for the Olympics,” he said.

He backed his athletes to do well at the competition stating that they hold very good standing positions, something that is vital in winning fights in judo. “The most important techniques in judo are standing position and ground work. And looking at our athletes, I can say they are not good in ground work but are strong in standing position because they have long arms and legs,” he said. “ And with their strengths, I expect them to bring home at least two medals.”

The team that will represent the country at the African Games is made up of Edwin Sello (60 kg), Tshenolo Tsheko (66kg), Leon Teama (66kg) and Thato Lebang (73kg). Victoria Leagajang (48kg) and Happy Taukobong (52kg) will compete in the ladies category with Murakami and Martial Moussima Ewane leading them as coaches. The team is also expected to compete at the Judo International Federation World Senior Championships billed for Tokyo, Japan from the 25th of August to September 1st.

Meanwhile Botswana will be sending a delegation of 144 (99 athletes and 45 officials) to the African Games. The team will travel in batches, with the first batch having left today (Tuesday); others will leave the country on the 17th and 19th of this month. Team Botswana has been in camp from the 31st July, in preparation for the Games and will continue to be until their departure for Morocco.

The sporting codes that will represent the country at the games include; judo, athletics, boxing, weightlifting, karate, chess and taekwando. Volleyball, swimming, tennis and cycling also make the list.

About the African Games
The African Games, formally known as the All-Africa Games or the Pan African Games, are a continental multi sport event held every four years, organised by the African Union with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa and the Association of African Sports Confederation. All of the competing nations are from the African continent and the first games were held in 1965 in Brazzaville, Congo.