Senegal based Sam Chape has vowed to work hard to ensure that fencing is recognised as a growing sport in Botswana. Though fencing has not gained much traction in the country, Chape has vowed to take the sport to another level.
Together with Aobakwe Modise, Chape was granted a scholarship by the International Fencing Federation (FIE) following impressive performances at the 2014 Africa Youth Games. The two are currently undergoing a one year coaching course in Senegal and will be certified masters upon completion.
“This is an intensive fencing program and we will be based in Dakar until end of the year,” he said.
He further said there is potential to grow fencing in Botswana, adding that they will help develop the sport once they have been certified world class fencing masters.
“Every kid wants to play with a sword; we will be able to popularise the sport and give children a platform to develop their skills. For us to achieve better results in future, we need to encourage youngsters to participate in major tournaments. It all takes support and dedication from both fencers and the sporting mother body,” said Chape.
Regarding their stay in Senegal, Chape said they have settled in well and are coping in their training.
“This has been a game changer for us and we sure will take fencing to another level upon our return. We are in a world class fencing centre,” he said.
Chape added that it’s important to benchmark and organise exchange programs for Botswana fencing athletes to learn from others in more advanced countries.
“South Africa is our neighbour and they’ve long recognised fencing. So it’s important for us to learn from them through coaching clinics and exchange programs,” he said.
He further said Botswana has potential to be one of the best countries in fencing, revealing that he managed to obtain a respectable position six out of 20 athletes in a tournament he participated in.
“With proper funding and investment we can take fencing forward,” he said.
The Botswana Amateur Fencing Federation (BAFF) was granted affiliation to Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) last year after debuting at the 2014 2nd Africa Youth Games.