Botswana will send only two athletes to the World Karate Federation (WKF)’s World Senior Karate Championships.
The championships, which will be hosted in Paris, France, are due to start on the 21st of this month. According to Botswana Karate National team coach, Sensei Otto Tafa, the two karatekas who will represent the country at the championship will be Ofentse Bakwadi and Thato Malunga.
The two karatekas will be accompanied by Tafa in his capacity as their coach as well as Botswana Karate Association President, Sensei Million Masumbika. The team is expected to leave for France this coming Saturday and will be expected back in the country on the 27th of this month.
Tafa said that both Bakwadi and Malunga will be expected to compete in the individual kata and individual kumite categories at the tournament. Unfortunately, Botswana will not get a chance to compete in team events due to the country not being able to send a fully fledged team to the championships.
“We would have loved to take a team to the championships, but due to financial circumstances, this is not possible. Our situation allows for us to take only two karatekas and we had to choose,” Tafa said in an interview.
He added that, based on past performances and athletes’ capabilities, they settled for Bakwadi and Malunga. The national team coach said apart from the local championships, they also looked at performances in international competitions when deciding on which athletes to take.
Both Karatekas have had a very good season and have shown a lot of promise. Malunga won two medals at the Kofukan World Championships in April earlier this year while Bakwadi brought home a silver medal from the Africa Karate Senior championships in September this year. Going into the World Senior Karate Championships, Tafa said while they have no specific number of medal targets, they are hopeful of bringing home a medal. The national team coach said the lack of specific targets is also due to the fact that they are not taking a team, something which restricts them to just four medal prospect and no team events competitions.
He said while the two karatekas have not had much match practice going into the World championships, he is optimistic that they are more than capable of doing well at the championships.
“This will not be the first time that these two go for this type of competition. They have been there before and I believe the experience they have competing at the highest level bodes well for them,” Tafa said.
Despite lack of match practice, the National team coach said the two have had a chance to train well and are ready for what lies ahead of them.
While in France, Sensei Tafa will be expected to take part in a coaching seminar on the 19th. According to Tafa, the seminar will give him a chance to learn from other coaches, something which he believes will benefit him going forward as a national team coach.