Keamogetse Kenosi: The School Bully Who Became a Boxing Star

It took the intervention of a teacher who encouraged Keamogetse to expend her excess energy on a punching bag that Botswana has this Olympics grade boxer today


Keamogetse Kenosi made history earlier this year by becoming the first-ever Motswana woman to qualify for the Olympics. Sadly, this young pugilist will have to wait a little longer to represent her country at the Olympics.

This is after this year’s Games, which were billed for Tokyo, Japan IN August, were postponed to 23 July to 8 August next year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Kenosi is disappointed that the Olympics have been rescheduled, she sees a brighter side in the postponement. “Yes, I was looking forward to the Games but the postponement has not affected my morale as I now have more time to prepare,” she said in an interview with Gazette Sport. “I am now preparing without much pressure and will certainly be ready, come July next year.”
Having grown up in the notorious streets of Monarch in Francistown , Kenosi joined boxing in 2012 after being a school ground bully for some time. “I befriended only boys and was forced to align with their behaviour, including being tough and rough with other students,” she recalled. “I was always punished for that. One day one of the teachers recruited me to join boxing so I could expend my energy on the punching bag instead of on other students.”

She is thankful for that teacher’s intervention because the 23-year old boxer had her first national team call-up in 2014 for the African Youth Championships in which she bagged a gold medal. “Before then I was doing boxing just for fun and had no goals,” she told this publication. “But after winning that gold medal I realised that I was talented and that I could make a living out of boxing.”

Post the 2014 African Youth Games, Kenosi started to be a regular in the national boxing squad and a winner of numerous medals. She emerged a champion during the 2015 Zone 4 Championships (for Southern African countries) before settling for a silver medal at the same competitions the following year. She came back strong from the tournament in 2017 as she won a gold medal that she successfully defended in 2018. Kenosi also participated in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Last year (2019) she impressed many when she won a gold medal in the featherweight category at the African Games that were held in Morocco. “After that I realised that I could reach my dream of qualifying for the Olympics, which was a real eye opener for me,” she said. “I must say that I am glad that I did not let that gold excite me too much because undermining my opponents would have followed and I might not have qualified for the Olympics.”

Kenosi attributes her success so far to hard work, discipline and listening to her coaches’ instructions