Botswana Amateur Fencing Federation (BAFF) held the 2016 national championships at the University of Botswana (UB) on Saturday where the National Team was selected ahead of the Gaborone Open in September.
At the tournament, BAFF identified 28 athletes who will represent the country in the upcoming regional and international tournaments.
The championships comprised of junior and senior (boys and girls) across the country competing in seven different categories: Benjamin women and men ep├®e, Cadets male and females amongst the others using two common Fencing weapons, Epee and Sabre.
Baatametse Mokgosi of Serowe Fencing Club dominated the Benjamin men’s Epee section to win gold following his stunning performance which saw him win all of his fights in a group that comprised of cream of the crop in fencing circles. it was a two female show in the ladies finals where Lebogang Raitsokwane had to dig deep to win the title after a hard fought match against Bonolo Kgaoganang who settled for Silver medal.
In the men’s Cadet Epee first timer Benjamin Hinds of Westwood emerged victorious with his effortless win in a category that was contested by only four fencers while Thabile Pilane of Tlokweng Fencing Club walked away with a gold medal in her respective category.
Fencing Master and national team coach Karabo Thobega who also won gold in his category said the tournament was a success despite low turnout of fencers across the country.
“The tournament was a success looking at the fact that we haven’t been active for a while now, but our athletes showed character and determination which is a true reflection of hunger for sport even thought we recorded less numbers of participants for which we are still awaiting explanation from clubs that didn’t manage to avail themselves because they were invited,” he said.
He further stated that they are working around the clock to organize another tournament that will give those who did not make the national team final cut opportunity to try their luck once again to fill in the vacant spaces in the national team.
“Teams did not bring all of their athletes because of lack of funds and we still believe that there are athletes who can break into the national team if given another chance that’s why we are thinking of staging another tournament before the Gaborone Open tournament. We got a positive feedback from our international visitors who came to officiate at our event and we intend to invite neighboring countries in our next tournament to better the standard and competitiveness of the sport in our local fencers,” he added.
Botswana Amateur Fencing Federation recently received operational funding from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) for the first time since gaining affiliation two years ago which will enable the federation to run its day to day programs and also to organize and compete in different tournaments across the continent.