The Botswana Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) technical officer, Healer Modiradilo, has praised local boxers at the just ended Zone VI tournament in Gaborone for a job well done. Modiradilo told The Sunday Standard that, as compared to previous tournaments, the boxers have improved a lot in terms of technique.
“Our boxers have improved a lot especially in terms of scoring points. In this tournament they have a lot of points compared to previous tournaments. I am happy with that and hopefully this is the beginning of good things to come,” he said.
Modiradilo also said the reason the boxers improved on their performance is because the boxers trained hard and spent a lot of time together. He said the boxers spent about a month in the camp, something that was not the case with the previous tournaments.
Botswana shined, especially in the 54, 57 and 60kg categories. At the time of going to press, Botswana had qualified for the finals in the three categories. The most enterprising fight in the semifinal division was between Thato Batshegi of Botswana and his Angolan counterpart, Samuel Andreas. Batshegi won on outclass. This meant that Batshegi was dominant and scored more points than his opponent.
Gaasite on the other hand did what was mostly expected of him. He has been the dominant figure in local boxing circles and easily defeated Maree Motopi of Lesotho on points. Many saw it as an outclass victory but referees and judges did not stop the fight and just waved play on.
Even former boxer, Dirang Thipe, praised the local boys for outstanding performance. Thipe said they should carry on even in the upcoming tournaments.
Regional countries like, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia were expected to give Botswana a run for their money, as was the case in previous tournaments. But that was not to be and some of the medalists in the previous Zone VI and Commonwealth Games were knocked out by young boxers from Botswana.
Drama nearly unfolded at the tournament, most notably in the semifinals. Some officials of the visiting teams charged at the judges saying they were biased. They questioned the criteria used in awarding points, especially to their opponents.
They claimed that their boxers earned more points but ended up on the losing side. The complaining officials were mainly from Namibia and Angola. Nevertheless, Modiradilo said it is painful to lose and such officials should show sportsmanship and accept the results. He added that nothing beats hard preparations. “Their teams should have been more prepared,” he said.
Many Batswana, especially those from Gaborone West, came in their numbers to cheer local boxers. Multitudes of people defied the sweltering heat and packed the hall to capacity. The only unfortunate thing was that Gaborone West Community hall, where the tournament was held, did not have a functioning air conditioner.