Senior National Team Karateka Ofentse Bakwadi is currently in a good position to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as he is ranked position four in the World Karate Federation (WKF) Tokyo 2020 standings in the male Kata category.
Karate will make its debut appearance at the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan where it will feature in two categories, Kumite and Kata for men and women.
While on course and his dream within reach, the road Tokyo 2020 is still long and winded for Ofentse.
According to his mentor Shihan Mpho Bakwadi, for Ofentse to maintain and improve his rankings he has to attend international qualification tournaments which are referred to as K1’s. He added that the K1 Tournaments are mostly held overseas and that only one K1 is held in Africa at Morocco.
“Standings are based on performance in Championships; you are given points based on Zonal, Regional and International performance. These are the main tournaments used for qualifications to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Shihan Bakwadi said.
The same sentiments were echoed by Ofentse who reiterated that ‘to be able to compete at the Olympics he needs to come up in the top four of the Olympic rankings and he can only qualify if he attends K1’S and other qualifying tournaments.’
With sponsorships from the local sports bodies very limited and hard to come by, Ofentse said the journey to Tokyo 2020 is very difficult.
As such, the enterprising karateka has since launched his own Tokyo 2020 fund raising drive to improve his qualification prospects, an initiative which he hopes will bear fruit.
Commenting on how he will maintain his current WKF standing Bakwadi said “I am trying to raise funds for the qualifying tournaments because I have not received any financial support from the sports bodies here in Botswana. I count support from my fund raising money and will fund myself from my pocket where I can.”