BY ANITA RANNOBA
The ongoing 18th AUSC Region 5 Karate Championships has come handy for the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) to gauge the preparedness of the country’s national team ahead of the upcoming Union of Africa Karate Federation (UFAK) karate championships. The continental championships will be hosted in Gaborone, Botswana from the 12th ÔÇô 14th of July this year.
With only a month to go before Africa converges in Botswana for a three day Karate fest, it is hoped BOKA’s technical team and athletes will use the regional championships to fine tune their preparations.
The regional tournament, which is hosted in Namibia, is graced by six countries from the region, being Botswana, the hosts Namibia, regional powerhouses South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.
Despite being submersed under the wings of Namibia and South Africa the blue team has ceased the moment not only to be the best but show their readiness for one of the biggest in Botswana karate history.
According to the BOKA President, Tshepho Bathai, even though there is a visible trace of poor organisation from the Namibian Karate Union (NAKU), it will not derail their focus and mandate to taking part in the championships and leaving a solid mark of their participation.
“Even though half of the athletes taking part in the tournament are doing it as a formality in the karate calendar to take part and also for fun, it has come in as a handy platform which has given us the opportunity to work on our athlete’s preparations and see how ready we are. From where I stand there are not many errors and the errors that we have picked can be corrected before the UFAK Championships,” he said.
Highlighting that he did not set any medal target for the team as this tournament is more like a training camp for them. However, errors like not having complete attire for athletes are just a hick-up for them which will be attended to with immediate effect he said.
According to Coach Moses Jones, the tournament has been a great eye opener as this is the beginning for the national team that is to partake in the UFAK Championships.
For his part, Botswana national team Kata champion, Ofentse Bakwadi, said Batswana should not read much into the results of the regional tournament as a gauge to the preparedness of the team for the UFAK championships.
“We cannot compare the competition here to the one we will get at the UFAK championships. When it comes to Karate, the biggest competition is always from the West and North Africa. Those are the powerhouses of Karate in the continent,” Bakwadi opined.
Bakwadi, who has already won the gold in Kata at the ongoing regional championships, said a lot of work will have to be put in after the regional championships to get the team ready for continental championships.