One of Botswana’s promising boxers, Michael Rantsho, faces an uncertain future due to the injury he suffered at the Commonwealth games early this year. Rantsho is nursing a head injury and might not participate in the upcoming international games such as Zone VI, Africa and World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Even if he could come back to the ring next year, he still faces an uphill battle because he has to regain his match fitness to convince the national team selectors that he still has what it takes to slug it out.
Rantsho’s first blow has already landed on him. He has not been able to defend his 48 kg division of Keone Mageu tournament that was held at the University of Botswana yesterday (Saturday). Last year, he made history by becoming one of the youngest boxers to win the title.
Many Batswana thought that the country had found a new gem who would raise aloft the Botswana flag in international tournaments, but that is also in jeopardy.
Keone Mooka Mageu tournament is used by Botswana Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) in the selection of the national team for Zone VI championships. Zone VI championships, on the other hand, are used as stepping stones to other games, including the Olympics.
BABA’s sports development officer, Healer Modiradilo, lamented Rantsho’s injury saying it might affect the national team. He said their selection is always based on merit not in the history of the boxer.
“It is pity because Rantsho is one of this country’s best athletes and has a huge potential. It will be a setback for him not to eventually make it to the national team because he has won several international medals for the country. Currently, we also do not know the extent of his injury, but let’s hope he will make a dramatic comeback next year,” he said.
Publicity Secretary of BABA, Willough Kemoen, echoed Modiradilo’s words saying that the country had invested a lot in Rantsho.
“If you could be aware, Rantsho used to be sent for training camps to as far as Cuba where he learnt a lot. When he was already bringing in the results tragedy struck. I am optimistic that he will make a major comeback because he is currently receiving good treated. The ball, however, is in his court if the doctors give him the green light,” Kemoen said.
Kemoen added that what pains the most is that Rantsho was one of the boxers groomed at an early age with the aim of targeting the 2008 Olympics.
Meanwhile, this year’s Keone Mooka Mageu once again produced some surprises. Two prominent boxers who were front runners to win 57 kg division, Khumiso Ikgopoleng and Thato Batshegi, were knocked out in the preliminaries by inexperienced boxers in Jwaneng last weekend. The duo’s defeat was a surprise bearing in mind their wealth in international experience. Both Ikgopoleng and Batshegi have in the past won medals at tough international tournaments. Anyway, the tournament also produced a shock last year, when the country’s most decorated boxer, Lechedzani Luza, was also pummeled out by another inexperienced boxer, Eanywa Dicheleketo.