The Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) president, Gift Nkwe, says he is hopeful that the opening of the sport’s own training center will help the karate sport to grow.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, the BOKA president said having their own facilities will help BOKA to plan better and implement their developmental strategies.
“It will help us carry out our development plans as per our strategy as well as help us plan our programmes without fear of interruption as has been the case when using other public facilities,” Nkwe added.
He says the opened facility, which cost around P1, 3 million, is only the first of four phases of the entire facility, which is expected to cost around P10 million.
The now-open 1000 square meter facility consists of an ablution block and a changing room.
“When complete, it will be a 4000 square meters hall with two sets of ablution blocks, an office, a meeting room and a storeroom,” Nkwe informed Standard Sport.
The new training facility was funded by both BOKA and the Japanese Embassy in Botswana, with the latter paying at least P688 000 towards the project while BOKA paid the remaining P622 000.
Nkwe says despite the facility being dubbed a ‘shack’ by some section of the public, it however shows the commitment of his association in developing the sport in Botswana.
He added that the hall is not yet ready to host any major events though it can host smaller events, which do not attract a lot of people or participants.
He said once the facility is fully completed, it will be used to host almost all Karate related events in the country.
Nkwe says the facility will go a long way in enhancing the national team athletes’ competitiveness in international and continental events, adding that after having to alter the national team training schedules time and again, due to lack of training facilities, the new facility will offer the team a place where they can train for competitions without being interrupted. Nkwe’s sentiments were echoed by Karate National team coach, Mpho Bakwadi, who also expressed delight at the opening of the new facility. Speaking in a separate interview, Bakwadi said the facility will help the national team to train anytime and on time while also affording them extended training hours.
“We have had difficult times in the past while using public halls for training our national team. We have had situations where we were restricted to train at certain times, which hampered our preparations for major competitions,” Bakwadi said.
With Zone 6 tournament, the Commonwealth Karate games and the All Africa games fast approaching, both Bakwadi and Nkwe believe that the new facility will help the National Karate team to prepare better and achieve its mandated medal haul at the games.