Karate team shines at Africa Region 5 Championship

Kitso Ramono
CHAMPIONS : Team kumite

The Botswana karate national team clinched an impressive 35 medals, including 11 gold, 13 silver, and 11 bronze, at the just ended Africa Region 5 Championship in Windhoek, Namibia.

The team finished third out of eight countries that took part, with South Africa and Namibia finishing first and second, respectively.

Coach Ofentse Bakwadi expressed admiration for the team’s efforts. “Our team excelled, with many athletes winning multiple medals in both kumite and kata. The ladies’ team also qualified for the 2024 World Senior Team Championships in Spain,” he said.

Bakwadi attributed the team’s third-place finish to the smaller number of athletes they could bring compared to South Africa and Namibia, who registered over a hundred athletes each, allowing them to accumulate more medals.

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Botswana Karate Association President, Mpho Bakwadi, pointed out that the team’s performance was hampered by limited funding from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). “We could have won the championship if we had sent more athletes to Windhoek, but due to funding constraints, we were only permitted to send eight. BNSC downgraded us to tier two, reducing our funding from P1.5 million to P300,000. This funding issue is a significant setback, and we hope BNSC will reconsider their allocation,” he said.

To bolster the squad, the association had to seek support from 20 karate students from Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School of Excellence, financed by the Development Fund.

This effort increased the team size from eight to 28 athletes.

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