Two local senior karateka will leave for Austria next week to compete at the World Karate Federation Championships with the aim to bring home medals.
The tournament pits top karateka from all over the world to compete in kata and kumite (males and females).
Team Botswana’s hopes lie on Sensei Ofentse Bakwadi who scooped bronze at the last year’s All Africa Games and Lame Hetanang (the 2015 All Africa Games silver medallist in kumite).
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) Vice President Technical Shihan Mpho Bakwadi said the two karateka was selected on merit based on their previous performance at competitive competitions outside the country.
“The championships include all styles and it is a high level competition so we found it fit to choose the two best karateka that we currently have,” he said.
He further stated that they did not send the team abroad for intensive training due to financial constraints that the association is faced with but intends to send them for a week-long session enroute to Austria.
“We brought an expert from South Africa to Botswana to train our athletes and If we had enough funds we could have sent them abroad for better preparations as we always do, but we are still trying to find ways to help them before the tournament, especially Hetanang because she will be a first-timer. Bakwadi is an experienced karateka. This year he attended three international tournaments where he won gold in Australia in kumite and we believe he will carry forth his form to the world championships,” added Shihan Bakwadi.
Initially the team included Sensei Thato Malunga who also did well at the last year’s All Africa games in Congo Brazzaville. However, she had to pull out due to school commitments.
“She will be writing her final exams on the dates that the world championships will be on course,” Bakwadi said.
Meanwhile, Shihan Bakwadi is in Melbourne, Australia to attend the karate coaches and instructors course from October 8 to 14.
The course affords top ranked instructors in the world an opportunity to better their knowledge as well as to learn the latest training techniques.