Tuesday, April 23, 2024

BoBA yet to Punch a Ticket to Paris 2024 

The Paris 2024 Olympics are less than 180 days away. Yet, Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) is yet to qualify a single athlete for the world sporting showpiece.

Qualifying athletes for the games has so far proven a difficult task for the boxing association. During the African Boxing Qualification in Dakar, Senegal in September 2023, BoBA fell short. The association is however still trying, and still hopeful it will be represented at the Olympics.

Any hope the association has to send athletes now rests on the two world qualification tournaments scheduled to take place this year. The first of these will take place from the 29th of February to the 12th of March, 2024 in Busto Arzisio in Italy. 

For this tournament, the local boxing association says it will send only two athletes to try and help them qualify. From these world qualifiers, only 49 boxers will qualify for the Olympics. According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the 49 athletes will comprise of 21 women and 28 men. BoBA is hopeful their boxers will be among those who qualify.

The second and last of these qualifiers will be held from the 23rd of May to the 3rd of June, 2024. They will be hosted in Bangkok, Thailand. Here, only 51 tickets to Paris will be on offer. And they will be shared among the six women and seven male categories. 

BoBA Secretary General Taolo Tlouetsile says among the two world qualifiers, they have for now only set their eyes on the first one in Busto Arsizio. This is due to financial constraints.  “We have only managed to secure funds for two athletes with the help of Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC),” he says. 

“Rajab Otukile Mohammed and Keamogetse Kenosi are the two boxers selected to try and qualify for Paris 2024,” Tlouetsile says. “We selected them because they are under IOC scholarships. This means the program can fund them for preparations and competition,” he explains. 

Given the duo’s experience, the BoBA secretary general believes they are the association’s best shot at qualifying. The two have previously represented the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “We cannot miss the chance and opportunity to be part of the Olympics. We have great hope on the two boxers to secure spots at the Olympics and fly the Botswana flag high once more,” Tlouetsile says.

“Even though we are eyeing the first World qualifier, we have made room for if we fail to qualify. Our hope will not be lost as we still have a chance left with the second qualifying games at Thailand. We are still hopeful that we will make it and our athletes will qualify,” the BoBA secretary general concludes.

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