The Japanese Government has donated Judo Equipment valued at US $68 577 (app P500 000) to the Botswana Judo Federation (BJF).
The equipment, which includes training and competition Judo equipment as well as Judo mattresses, was handed over to the BJF president, Ms Estony Hattingh, by the Japanese Ambassador to Botswana, Mr. Hiroyasu Kobayashi on Sunday.
The handing over of the equipment follows the signing of a grant contract between the Japanese government and the BJF on the 15th of March earlier this year. Speaking at the equipment handover, Kobayashi said the funding was made through his government’s Grassroots Cultural Grant Scheme. He said the initiative is part of his government’s efforts to introduce Japanese traditional culture internationally as well as to ensure that ‘the traditional martial art, Judo, is acknowledged worldwide.’
The Japanese Ambassador lauded the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture as well as the BJF for their part in the development of Judo in the country, adding that the skills shown by Botswana’s young and upcoming Judokas was impressive.
“The efforts by the Botswana Judo Federation with the support from the Government of Botswana as well as Japan are sure to promote Judo and enhance its practice in Botswana. I look forward to seeing the next Nijel Amos coming from among Batswana Judokas and becoming a leader of Batswana sports in the near future,” Mr. Kobayashi added.
The Japanese Ambassador added that it is his sincere wish that the collaboration ‘further strengthens the friendship between Japan and Botswana by making it more solid and profound.’
For his part, the Director in the Department of Sports and Recreation (DSR), Mr. Falcon Sedimo, said Botswana was very grateful for the support from the Japanese Government, saying the country is indebted to the Japanese people. The DSR director expressed hope that the equipment donated by the Government of Japan will be used for a good cause, adding that he was very hopeful that Judo will bring medals to Botswana in the next five years.
Sedimo said the partnership with the Japanese, which saw the country send experts into the country, will produce the country’s next sports stars.
Accepting the equipment, BJF President, Ms Estony Hattingh, expressed gratitude at the Japanese government for its role in Grassroots development of Judo in the country. She said the equipment from the Japanese Government came at the right time as it will be used when the country hosts the Africa Junior Cadet Judo championships, which is due to start in two weeks time at the Gaborone International Convention Centre. The BJF President said she was very hopeful that local Judokas will make their debut in the Olympics during the Rio 2016 Olympics.
As part of the day’s events, visiting Japanese Judo experts teamed up with young and upcoming local Judokas in a demonstration to show off Judo skills and Techniques.