Reigning African men’s Karate Kata champion, Ofentse Bakwadi, has set his eyes on being among the ten Karatekas who will compete for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Bakwadi made history last year at the Union Federation of African Karate (UFAK) Championships when he became the first ‘black African Kata champion.’
‘Shaykex,’ as Bakwadi is affectionately known, has now set sights on writing his own history, being among the first Olympic karate medallists. In an effort to give himself a chance, the reigning Botswana Sportsman of the Year has launched a fundraising campaign to help finance his qualifications to the Olympics.
Currently ranked 41 in the world, Bakwadi needs to be among the 10 highest ranked Karatekas if he is to qualify, a feat not so easy to achieve.
“For me to qualify, I will have to compete and do well in as many K1 Karate Premier league competitions as I can to accumulate points needed to improve my ranking. This will take a lot of travelling to both training camps and competitions and this means spending money,” he explained.
Although funding for the actual participation at the games will be covered by the Botswana National Olympics Commission, he noted that pre- training is a big catalyst and should not be left to chance.
In catering for pre- training, Bakwadi launched the #Road2Toyko2020 Fundraising Campaign which will help pave way for various fundraising initiatives aimed at propelling the multi-award winner to the Olympics.
“Self fundraising has taken a toll on me, which propelled me to approach a few people to help me raise funds; through this fundraising I am sure I will be able to go to the pre- training tournaments and I will definitely bring a medal back home,” he said.
Furthermore Bakwadi noted that he always wanted to reach international level for Olympics and Championships but it has never been easy because the people he usually compete with across the world are more advanced with high technical instructors; unlike in Botswana, having coaches which are limited in training.
The pre-training tournaments are said to be coupled with training with international coaches, which all take place outside Botswana.
Campaign coordinator, Kesego Okie, noted that the passion Bakwadi junior has for this sport has taken him very far and ‘as Batswana it is our responsibility to back him up in order for him to attain his Olympic medal dream.’
#Tokyo2020 Fundraising Campaign has managed to secure support from Cresta Holdings, Keorapetse Investments and Graphics Suite.