The Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) has embarked on a post mortem exercise aimed at identifying reasons why none of the country’s boxers managed to qualify for the Rio 2019 Olympics.
Botswana recently came back from the qualifiers empty handed, while at least one boxer each from regional competitors South Africa and Lesotho managed to qualify, despite the fact that local boxers have been dominating regional competitions.
“Our boys have fought and dominated the same boxers from Lesotho and South Africa who qualified for the Olympics. We need to find out why they qualified for the Olympics whilst our boxers failed to qualify,” a source close to boxing opined.
Pressed for answers, the BoBA executive and coaches admitted that preparations for the qualifiers were not enough. En route to the qualifiers, the local boxers partook in only one competitive event; the Zone 4 championships, which they dominated. However, BoBA President Dr Thato Patlakwe admitted that the Zone 4 competitions alone were not enough to prepare the boxers for the qualifiers.
“We needed to give our boxers exposure on the international arena. We currently have a youthful and inexperienced team and we need to give them a lot of practice,” he said.
According to the BoBA President, the only experienced boxer in the squad is Kagiso Bagwasi who has all along been part of BoBA’s four year cycle to prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“At the onset, we earmarked Bagwasi, Mooketsi Lekgetho, Oteng Oteng and Tirafalo Seoko as the athletes around whom we would build our squad for Rio 2016. They were the core of our four year Olympic cycle. Unfortunately, for some reasons beyond our control, this plan failed and by the time we went for the qualifiers, Bagwasi was the only surviving member of the four,” the BoBA President explained.
Lekgetho has since quit boxing while Seoko has been grappling with personal disciplinary problems that prevented him from being an active member of the team. Oteng on the other hand has requested to be granted time away from boxing to focus on his studies. Dr Patlakwe’s sentiments were echoed by ladies’ coach, Thebe Setlalekgosi who said the team’s preparations were not enough. Speaking during a press briefing last week, Setlalekgosi said the team’s preparations were not adequate, given that they had to compete against semi professional boxers. He however acknowledged that the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNOC) and BoBA had done all they could to ensure that athletes were better prepared. Meanwhile, BoBA is expected to carry out a full post mortem of the failed qualifiers on April 9. Dr. Patlakwe revealed that he has already given the team management at least two weeks to compile a detailed report of the failed qualifiers.
“Once we have the detailed report we will be able to pinpoint where we came short and then map the way forward,” he said.