The Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) hosted the third and final senior karatekas tournament in Lobatse over the weekend, at which it also selected senior national team athletes to represent the country in upcoming continental and international competitions.
The tournament pitted senior karatekas from across the country against each other as they vied for a place in the national team ahead of the Zone VI championships and the Africa senior cup. The selection was conducted in a three leg process that started in Gaborone last month, then went to Mahalapye a fortnight ago and finally the weekend tournament in Lobatse. Two individuals in each category were selected based on their overall performance in both kata and kumite.
The category that captured spectators’ attention was the under 84kg males’ kumite, which was unpredictable from the beginning. However, Bose Caiphus of SSG karate club finally emerged the winner after outclassing Kaene Pace Kago of Hayashi-ha in the finals. Enroute to the finals Kaene Kago beat Mogakolodi Motlhabi while Bose Caiphus registered an easy victory against Joseph Molodi of SSKB karate club. In another exciting category, the under 75kg males kumite, Mpho Bosenakitso of Kagiso karate club in Francistown sent a stern warning to his longtime rival Oratile Caiphus. Despite his two consecutive losses to Caiphus in the first and second stage of selection, Bosenakitso sealed the campaign with a 5-4 victory to scoop a consolation gold medal, as he got position two overall behind category champion Oratile Caiphus who got two gold medals out of a possible three.
2014 Africa Youth Games champion Thabang Setshego dominated the under 60 category that pitted him against other young promising karatekas like Rafael Reid and Batlaareng Shabane. Following his impressive performance in the second leg in Mahalapye, Setshego did not look back as he clinched another gold to deny Reid a top spot. Ofentse Shakes Bakwadi kept a clean sheet in the under 60kg male kata after winning three consecutive gold medals in the selection campaign.
Thato Malunga dominated the ladies’ section in both kata and kumite in the absence of Tsholofelo Maduma who suffered a toe injury at the kofukan open championships in Gaborone last month. Lesedi Mabolokane scooped a gold medal in the female under 50kg kumite. BOKA Public Relations Officer, Sensei Jerry Ditlhong said after the tournament that all athletes who won gold and silver in their respective categories will go for a training camp for assessment before selection of the final team. The final team will represent the country at the Zone VI championships in Zimbabwe in May. All gold medalists from the Zone VI championships will then represent the country at the Africa senior cup which will be held in August in Gabon. Meanwhile, selection of the junior karate team will kickstart in the first week of April.