- Preps for Africa Senior underway
- BWF plans to establish a Reba Bona Ha centre in Gabs
- Africa Championships to serve as qualifiers for Paris Olympics
Botswana Weightlifting Federation (BWF) is in pursuit of recruitment of new athletes to the sport following the retirement of some of their senior players from the national team.
BWF is looking for junior and youth potential weightlifters to join the sport to groom them to eventually represent the country at continental and global events.
The federation made an historic Olympics qualification two years ago through Magdeline Moyengwa, who became the first Motswana to qualify for the Olympics in weightlifting.
Search for new talent
She competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where she was knocked out in the first round of the competition. Moyengwa retired from the sport upon her return from the Olympics, citing social and cultural issues.
BWFs National Team Coach Alex Rankgwe told Gazette Sports this week that they intend to beef up their current squad with new talent in order to grow the sport in Botswana.
“We have been struggling to recruit new athletes because people don’t know much about the sport simply because we have not been visible due to less activities at the association,” he said.
“We are now using social media for better reach and visibility to attract new talent. We are quite happy with the progress, more so that we have had requests from several people calling for establishment of clubs in different areas across the country.”
The federation is looking into establishing a Reba Bona Ha centre in Gaborone that will be the hub of grassroots development.
Preps for continental events
Meanwhile, BWF has four national team athletes who are currently preparing for the forthcoming Africa Senior Championships billed for Tunisia in April. The championships will also serve as qualifiers to Paris 2024 Olympics.
The athletes are Dikabelo Solomon, Aphius Kagiso and Kgotla Kgaswane who previously represented Botswana at the two editions of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia and Birmingham, England respectively while Emma Imsirovic is the sole member of the women’s team.
Rankgwe underscored their intentions to qualify more athletes for the Paris Olympics through their participation in all qualifying tournaments. “We are hard in training and athletes are getting into shape for upcoming tournaments,” he said.
“The level of our preparation will be determined by availability of funds from the mother body. Preparations include training camps, travelling and participation in tournaments. I am hopeful that we will produce more Olympians out of the small crop of athletes that we have.”