Top Motswana Badminton Umpire off to Finland for world tourney

Gazette Reporter

Botswana’s finest badminton referee, Emmanuel Kgaboetsile, left the country on Tuesday to honour a Badminton World Federation (BWF) invite to officiate at the world’s biggest badminton event, the Total Energies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals, slated for Vantaa, Finland on 26 September, Gazette Sport has established.

Egypt is the only African country in the tournament and will compete across several categories.

The holder of the highest badminton refereeing qualifications, Kgaboitsile has been among of top badminton referees who have been officiating at world events since last year. He is the only African umpire invited to officiate at these games following his performance assessment at the World Tours in Thailand early this year.

In an interview with Gazette Sport before his departure, Kgaboitsile said he believes his selection was based on his latest performance as an umpire at past world events which come on the basis of a thorough assessment by the board of adjudicators of the World Badminton Federation during games. “I feel honoured to be invited to umpire at the tournament of this magnitude and being the only umpire from Africa appointed to take a centre stage,” he said.

“This is a true reflection of hard work because it is not easy to make it to this level where you are entrusted to umpire matches for top players in the world. We are assessed after every match and they look at a lot of aspects and the individual’s conduct. Every time I get these invitations, it confirms that I am doing something right in the field of play.”

Kgaboetsile is one only five WBF accredited umpires in Africa. His qualifications allow him to be a referee and an assessor at the same time, mostly in Africa. He was assigned to assess umpires officiating at the recent Africa Championships in Benin where he conducted a workshop and examined the umpires.

“With this qualification, I can only officiate as an umpire at the world stage but not to assess,” he explained. “However, I can do both at the continental stage and have already been on a couple of assignments across Africa. I recently did Benin and the Ivory Coast, assessing upcoming African umpires. I have been upgraded to this level because of my experience in the field.”

Meanwhile, Botswana Badminton Federation (BBF) has selected a team of four athletes to compete at the All-Africa Senior Championships in Kampala, Uganda next month. The team is made up of Tumisang Olekantse, Tebogo Ndzinge, Tshepo Perekisi and Tessa Kabelo under the tutelage of Coach Oreeditse Thela.

Emanuel Seokamo and Mmereki Nkgowe, who are seeking to become continental level umpires, have been invited to take part in the umpire assessment workshop.