The world’s Number 5 in 2018 and Botswana’s most decorated karateka, Sensei Ofentse Shakes Bakwadi, has announced his retirement from competitive karate after 24 years of representing the country at continental and international levels in both kata and kumite.
Sensei Bakwadi has represented Botswana in almost every karate competition except the Olympics and won several titles in individual and team events in kata and kumite.
He has dominated the local karate events, winning gold in every tournament and thus staking a place for himself on the national team. He was ranked fourth in the world in 2018, becoming the first Motswana to make it to the World Karate Federation’s (WKF) top five in world rankings.
Sensei Bakwadi says his decision to retire was prompted by a desire to close the gap between himself and promising karatekas by producing martial artists who can take over from him as soon as possible.
“I wish to take this time to publicly announce that I’ve come to a decision to retire from competition,” he told The Botswana Gazette.
“I have been a consistent part of the junior national team since 1999, graduated to the senior team and eventually become the captain of the senior national team for many seasons.
“Excellence is achievable”
“As I bow out, I can only hope my performance has inspired younger athletes not only to know but to have seen that excellence is achievable.
“I wish to sincerely thank the sports fraternity for being kind to me throughout my career. I want to also thank all those who have stood by my side through thin and thick. They have made me what I am. Without their undying support and positive energy, I wouldn’t have achieved half of my accomplishments.”
Sensei Bakwadi is a two-time Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Sportsman of the Year and two-time Africa Senior Kata Champion, making him the only Motswana to have won the titles in the history of Botswana karate.
The only African
He is also the 18 times continental cup medallist and the only African to have won the Australian Open title in kata. He has been the National Champion for over 10 consecutive years.
Sensei Bakwadi told Gazette Sports that he intends to continue serving in karate as a coach so he can discover and nurture talent that will continue representing Botswana beyond what he did as an athlete. “I am going to continue serving and contributing to sports development in Botswana,” he said.
“I am the current head coach for SSKB Champions Karate Club and have started manufacturing champions such as Quinton Mosupiemeng, Kao Nsala, Centy Kgosikoma, Lethabo Sekano and Gabriel Ramasimong who have already made it to the national team ahead of the Zone 6 games billed for Zimbabwe next month.”