The Botswana Judo Federation has every reason to pop champagne bottles after a sterling performance at the ongoing Africa Youth Games. Out of the four categories they participated in, team Botswana won 5 medals, including one gold, three silver and one bronze medal.
The team participated in the 55kg, 66kg, 81kg and 100kg categories and was represented by four boys and three girls. The team was under the tutelage of Japanese volunteer Sensei Keisuke Itsubo who came to Botswana last year August under the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA)’s volunteer program. Apart from being assigned Botswana Judo Federation as head coach ahead of the Africa Youth Games, Itsubo coaches primary school students in government schools. He runs the Judo development programs at primary schools such as Philip Moshotle, Lesedi, SSKB, Botsalano and Masa. Itsubo said in an interview that he is driven by the passion towards Judo shown by young people in Botswana during his coaching sessions.
He said he looks forward to seeing his prot├®g├®es take part in the Tokyo Olympics billed for 2020.
Itsubo, who also coaches some local coaches, said his main aim is to impart knowledge especially to local coaches so that they can continue where he would have left when he returns to Japan next year. He is currently understudied by two assistant coaches, Sensei Kingsley Segokotlo and Sensei Kgosipula Kaupa who was also the team manager during the ongoing Africa Youth Games. Itsubo said his assistant coaches made his job easier as they are both dedicated and committed to the Judo movement.
He also thanked JICA for the lifetime opportunity to come to Botswana and be part of the history made by Botswana in hosting the Africa Youth Games for the first time. Itsubo is a graduate of Tokai University where he graduated with a Diploma in Physical Education. He has also represented Japan in Judo at international competitions. Both Segokotlo and Kaupa lauded the arrival of Itsubo and the valuable experience he brought to Team Botswana during their preparations for the continental competitions. Segokotlo said their preparations were also boosted by the team’s participation in various competitions prior to the Africa Youth Games such as the Africa Championship in Tunisia, Judo for Peace Regional Tournament in Zambia. For his part, Kaupa was grateful for the cooperation between the local Judo federation and JICA and the people of Japan who recently donated Judo gear to the federation.