- 38-strong team hoards 45 medals, mostly gold
Botswana’s national karate team (juniors and seniors) defied the odds and won a total of 45 medals – most of them gold – at the UFAK Region South Zone 6 Championships that were held in Harare, Zimbabwe over the weekend.
Put together by the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA), the team won 21 gold, 13 silver and 11 bronze medals in individual and team events.
Gold and silver for Kao Nsala
Kao Nsala became the centre of attraction when he dominated the junior category with exceptional performances, scooping a gold medal in kumite and a silver in kata. Lentle Tanya also made a strong return to the competitive stage, winning a gold medal in individual kata.
The team added two more gold medals to the haul when it emerged tops in the senior team individual kumite in -84kg and +84kg through Goitseone Koosaletse and Johannes Gustavo respectively.
However, Gabriel Ramasimong, Quinton Mosupiemang and Kaone Molefe lost their titles and settled for bronze medals in under the 60, 67 and 75kg categories.
Lethabo Sekano retains her title
Lesego Masimola won gold in the women’s individual kumite while Centy Kgosikoma settled for a silver and a bronze in kumite. Lethabo Sekano won gold in the -68kg, retaining the title she won in South Africa last year.
The overall performance of the team shows a slight decrease in kumite as compared to its previous performance in Zone 6. The team was under the tutelage of Sensei Peter Molefe and Sensei China Metswi.
The sterling performance comes after the team encountered challenges in going to Zimbabwe because of financial problems and was compelled to slash its size from over 70 athletes to 38 athletes in order to fit the budget allocated by the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).
Gazette Sports is informed that a part of the problem was delayed allocations of annual grants to National Sports Associations (NSAs) which were done two months late.
BOKA spokesperson Keorapetse Dube told Gazette Sports that they would have preferred sending a bigger team but funds did not permit. “We had to work with whatever we had in order to honour the invite and are glad that we made it,” he said.
BOKA president, Shihan Mpho Bakwadi, congratulated the team and vowed to continue being inclusive and transparent to ensure that development of athletes is not compromised.
Zeal and hard work
“Our mandate is to run and develop the sport to a more professional standard and we are happy with the zeal and hard work that was displayed by the team in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Supporting athletes by giving them exposure to compete in such competitions boosts their morale and motivates them to do well against their peers in a more competitive setup.”