Monday, March 4, 2024

BOKA hits the ground running

When the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) held their first tournament of the year at the University of Botswana recently, the performances were not as refined as many would have expected. Save for the few upsets that occurred, including that of Khaya Groth losing the under 21 men’s Kata final to Tlotlang Ponatshego as well as Emmanuel Bulayani beating off competition from veteran national team athlete China Metswi to fight for gold against Ofentse Bakwadi in the senior men’s Kata, the performances were not perfect, at least compared to the past competitions.
Despite the below usual high standard performances, for many in the corridors of BOKA, the significance of the tournament was not lost in the performances. After more than seven months of upheavals that had bedeviled the association, the performances, though not refined, marked new beginnings for Karate. According to BOKA’s Interim Executive Committee Chairperson David Mathe, the tournament ‘bore great significance to the association.’ “This is the first of many tournaments that we will be holding for both the senior and junior Karatekas as we start rebuilding Karate,” the Chairperson of BOKA Interim Committee explained. After months of uncertainty that saw local athletes not competing in both local and international competitions, resulting in the unceremonious departure of the Tshepo Bathai led BOKA Executive Committee, this was just one step in a journey to rebuilding. Speaking in an interview, Mathe outlined that as an interim committee, it was befitting that they hit the ground running to set the sport o n the way to recovery. “High among the reasons that led to the revolt and the eventual departure of the recent executive committee was lack of activities in the BOKA calendar. This led to the local athletes missing competitions like the World Championships that were held in Germany as there had been no tournaments to select the team,” the Interim BOKA Chairperson explained. “The plan therefore was to start hosting tournaments straight away and this is what we are doing,” Mathe continued. He said as an interim committee, they have been given a three pronged mandate, of which, even if it was 90% achieved without organising tournaments, they would have failed. Outlining his interim committee’s mandate from the BOKA affiliates, Mathe said apart from organising tournaments, they have also been sent by the affiliates to revise the constitution of BOKA. “The affiliates have for a long time felt that there are many loopholes within the BOKA constitution that need to be corrected. This was the mandate given to the recently ousted committee and it has now been passed to us to complete,” the Interim BOKA Chairman explained.
He said so far, work is ongoing and the issue will be resolved in due time. “The recently ousted committee had already set a team to look into the constitution amendment and the team had done a significant amount of work by the time the committee left. As an interim committee, we then resolved to keep faith in the same team to continue the work and they will complete their work very soon,” he said. According to the BOKA, another mandate is that by the end of this month (March), they should have facilitated the election of a new committee, a mandate which they are also working on. On whether this should not be done after the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) task team report into the upheavals at BOKA, Mathe said the Interim committee, together with affiliates have deliberately decided that the elected committee will be the one to deal with the report. “The report will therefore have no bearing on the election of the new committee,” the interim BOKA Chairperson concluded.


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