BY ANITA RANNOBA
The reality of how our sport is failing us is coming out in the open. With the just ended 2019 Africa Karate Championships (UFAK) held in Gaborone it is quite clear there is an error somewhere.
Botswana Karate Association (BoKA) spokesman Isaiah Ramontshonyana, told the Sunday Standard that despite not having any gold medal in their basket they performed much better than last year adding that the competition was tough especially from Arab countries such as Morocco, Egypt and Algeria as they lost to them.
According to Ramontshonyana, the Arab countries are advantaged as they are close to Europe were major tournaments are held. Highlighting that they spend most of their time in camp and training in Europe while with Botswana the issue is always lack of finances.
“Araba countries are exposed to world class tournaments and even if we wanted to train the team in major tournaments we cannot do it because of lack of finances. We prepare for Africa with Regions 5and the World Championships with Africa and mind you Region 5 is the lowest tournament,” he said.
He furthermore noted that they wish they had training camps like this Arab countries as for this year only BoKA had five camps while the Arabs had about ten. When Cameroon hosted UFAK in 2017, the team brought two gold medals home, two silvers and some bronze while last year in Rwanda they only won silver and bronze medals.
“Even though this year we failed to utilize home advantage at least we have bagged more medals than last year. All medals are 11 with three being silver and eight bronze,” Ramontshonya said.
All time favourite who many expected a medal from; Ofentse Bakwana said team Botswana’s performance was bad had they be given even time to prepare and train their performance would have been much better. Adding that if they can train just like the Arabs they could have stood their ground rather and did a far much better job.
“For me to be able to get a gold medal 2017 in Cameroon, I paid for myself to train abroad had BoKA done that for team BW we could have bagged in more medals but rather they took us to Bloemfontein to be hit by the cold in South Africa, Bakwadi said.
Ramontshonyana concluded to say that they wish they could have a budget on the side specifically for training. He noted that they wanted to attend Champions in Canada but finances are not allowing them to attend.