The Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) is geared to host the 8th Africa Zone 6 children, juniors, cadets and senior Karate Championships on the 3rd to 4th July 2009.
The championships are scheduled to be held at the Ditshupo Hall in Gaborone.
BOKA Public Relations Officer, Moses Moloi, explained that this event is brought to Botswana by the recent failure by scheduled hosts Angola, which cancelled the activity at the eleventh hour due to internal constraints as they were hosting other events during the year.
“The event was supposed to have been run in May but was then floated to Botswana in late April and this inconvenienced us,” he said. He added that because most of the committee members are in Botswana, they had to rescue the Zone.
“The vice president, secretary general and technical personnel are all in Botswana and they had to rescue the Zone,” Moloi said.
He further said their biggest challenge in hosting the championships is funds.
“We were only told end of May that the event would be played by end of June and this provided us with very little time to look for sponsors. Moloi went on to say there aren’t many sponsors for the event but the preparations are going smoothly.
However, this also came as a blessing for Botswana who would now have a chance to increase the number of their athletes.
“The eventual cancellation by Angola means that we are now accorded a chance to increase the number of athletes, thus increasing the chances of placing athletes in most of the categories because we have been experiencing challenges in maximizing our medal haulage due to lack of financial power to field participants in all categories,” said Moloi.
He added that they had also selected a limited number of athletes to Angola and left out potential players due to travel expenses.
“With the championships in our country, we are going to use every athlete at our disposal to play in almost all the categories,” he added. BOKA also expects to upset the records and beat South Africa on the number one score boards this time around though SA are bringing in a large team once again, with over 60 athletes who will participate across all the categories.
“We have always got the number two spot in these championships whilst SA got number one, mainly because they have more participants playing in almost every category but with the ball in our court now, we are going to use almost all the athletes we have,” he said.
In the last championships held in Valhalla, Pretoria in South Africa in October 2008, Botswana came second to South Africa with 41 medals, 12 of which were gold against South Africa’s 106 medals of which 37 were gold.
“This clearly shows that Botswana generally has an edge over the regional number one country in terms of medals ratios,” Moloi said.
The Africa Zone 6 Championships provide an intensive competition bracket for both junior and senior championships in the region.
Zone VI comprises of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia. Excelling athletes are usually from South Africa and Botswana, mainly because they have organized Karate managing bodies and full-fledged trainers to run karate professionally.
The Botswana team shall be training at SSKB in Mogoditshane starting on the 20th June 2009 until the day of the tournament.
Further, Botswana will feature as much competitors as possible in order to prepare for the Commonwealth Games which will be held in South Africa in September.
Prior to the major world event, Botswana will participate in the Africa Championships later in August.