15 primary schools over the weekend participated in a wrestling tournament hosted by the Botswana Wrestling Federation (BWF) in Selibe Phikwe.
The tournament featured pupils from 15 primary schools in Selibe Phikwe and Mmadinare, competing for national team slots in different age categories. The national team will represent the country at the Namibian National Wrestling Championships slated for Windhoek in June. BWF President Moagi Sharp said in an interview that the main objective of the challenge was to familiarize kids with a competitive atmosphere at an early age, as well as to develop the sport at grassroots level.
“Our intention is to have a strong team that will compete internationally in all national team ranks in the next 10 years. We were impressed by these kids’ performance,” he said.
Selibe Phikwe schools dominated the competition, and Reuben Mpabanga Primary School emerged the overall winners of the tournament, scooping gold medals in each category. Sharp further revealed that BWF will host two more championship qualifiers in April and May, for which they intend to scout for talent throughout the country.
“Reuben Mpabanga is one of the best schools we have adopted and it has great talent. We will stage two more competitions to create opportunities for other potential athletes,” said Sharp.
Since its establishment seven years ago, BWF has registered more than five clubs in Gaborone, Francistown, Maun, Selibe Phikwe and Ghanzi. BWF failed to make it to the 2014 2nd Africa Youth Games due to lack of equipment and proper structures. However, Sharp revealed that they are currently working around the clock to find a suitable space to build a national wrestling hall.
“We did not make it to the AYG because we did not meet the requirements to host such an event. A wrestling hall is one of the prerequisites to hosting a continental tournament, but we did not have one. But we have made progress since 2014 in terms of development of athletes and administrators,” said Sharp.
Meanwhile a wrestling mat that was donated to Botswana by IWF is expected to arrive in the country in July.