Lack of funds continues to frustrate the growth of Botswana Karate Association (BOKA).
This is according to the Public relations Officer of BOKA, Moses Moloi.
“The most significant challenges have remained the lack of funds and slow response to sponsorship requests from both the private sector and the public sector. Support for sporting activities and long term sponsorship contracts are still difficult to win in Botswana, despite the brilliance of the performance by the organization,” he said. “BOKA survives mostly through the grant made from BNSC to affiliates and it has to be noted that the paltry P500 000 is not adequate to undertake the activities, especially in a sport that usually sends a delegation of more than 30 people to each tournament. The children and youth categories have remained hardest hit since they cannot compete at world level where flight tickets remain exorbitant and beyond reach. Most athletes are then selected to perform in more than one category, thus leaving potential medalists in sacrifice for more presence and casts of performance through placement of categories,” he said.
Moloi further noted that the recent grant they won from the Japan Embassy is a highly welcome development stating that, “the grant was to the total of P678, 000 all provided towards the construction of an indoor arena for the use as training facilities.
“This comes as a major achievement for the association because we hope the facilities will help in bringing more medals into the country. The facilities will also help curb the thorny issue of lack of facilities to accommodate indoor sports, especially Karate, which has always been the number one sport in bringing medals into Botswana,” said Moloi.
He stated that some critical issues have also been the dependence of the organization and its affiliates on the goodwill of the generosity of the public, parents and schools in the provision of equipment such as the karate clothing (Gi), safety equipment and rings for training and tournaments activities (tatame).
Moloi added that of all the teams that wear national colours, BOKA still remains the only sport not provided with National Team clothing for the field activities besides the tracksuits allocated stating that this somehow gets a negative bearing on the participants as they have to pay for their own expenses.
He, however, pointed out that the association has made strides in achieving significant growth in their affiliates’ numbers. Its affiliates, mainly Shitoryu-based Karate-Do and JKA Shotokan styles which have experienced growth in numbers and reach as Karate continues to lead the National medal haulage. Moloi noted that the most important contributions to the growth of the sport remain the out of school youth and the schools across the country.
“There are also significant areas of growth in the adults’ categories. Recently, the General Assembly gathered to endorse another new member, Ryu-Shinkan Botswana led by Sensei Andrew Dobolo. Thus bringing the total membership of BOKA affiliates to six.
The other styles affiliated to BOKA are Botswana Shitoryu Federation (Sensei Union Kgagela), Kofukan International (Sensei Million Masumbika), Botswana Hayashi-Ha (Sensei Mpho Bakwadi), Botswana Shukokai Karate Union (Sensei Socca Moruakgomo) and JKA Botswana International (Sensei Solly Nageng),” he said.
He further said through the professional setup they have made at their offices, BOKA has managed to stage some of the strongest teams in history with consistency in medal haulage at most major regional and international tournaments when compared to other BNSC affiliates.