Sunday, June 16, 2024

Botswana fencing sport tries to fend off misses

Botswana Fencing Federation (BFF) aims to work hard to grow the sporting code despite the absence of school sport in the country.

These were the sentiments of the BFF public relations officer (PRO) Thabile Pilane following the commemorations of World Fencing Day on September 9.

“The BFF celebrated various milestones in fencing during the day, one of which was increased participation in the sport, the majority of participants being young athletes. BFF wants to focus on youth development, but there are still limitations in school sports,” she says.

Pilane mentioned that over the past few years, the BFF had been securing funds ‘to send athletes to international tournaments.’ 

The BFF has participated in three African Championships and Commonwealth Games. Pilane says this is an important step for the federation as this was not possible before.

“International competitions have given our fencers the opportunity to be ranked in the International Fencing Federation (FIE) world rankings. Three of our athletes have made appearances and are now in the FIE rankings. As a federation, this is our biggest step forward,” she explains.

The BFF PRO says her federation has a mission to ensure change in sports for women and girls by securing leadership positions. Furthermore, she explains that 70% of the executive committee consists of women in senior positions. These include positions of PRO, technical director, general secretary, treasurer and additional members.

“The BFF has grown despite the challenges. The federation looks forward to attracting investors that will help grow the sport. Once the BFF has this funding and the relationship with partners that align with our mission and vision, fencing will make waves,” an optimistic Pilane predicts.

She reveals that the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) awarded the BFF a grant of P50,000 for its activities. She says the funds were used for management and affiliation fees. “The grant is small, but we are trying to make sure this year’s event calendar is honored. However, fencing must have its own fund to try to find long-term sponsors,” she reveals.

On the development side, Pilane says the local fencing federation is doing its utmost best to grow the sport. “We are trying to get Re Ba Bona Ha (RBBH) involved because out-of-school sports are suspended. However, we hope for a good partnership because RBBH operates more actively than the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA). Fortunately, the BFF was also involved in negotiations with one media group which wants to support fencing. They had a great financial proposal to make to us that we should grab with both hands,” she reveals.

Meanwhile, the BFF will host the UB Open on September 22, the 3rd Annual Thobega Fencing Tournament on October 14, and the National Championship on  November 4, all in Gaborone.


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