Besides financial hurdles he is facing, Advent Kagiso Monyatsiwa, the 24-year-old is going to the Olympics and is determined to bring home a medal in Judo.
Having started training in Judo from a tender age at Maun, Monyatsiwa developed the love and passion for Judo to the extent that he is willing to give up everything to go to Japan and just practice Judo for the next 2 years until the Olympics Games.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Monyatsiwa noted that after completing his Cambridge, he decided to do something further concerning his Judo career. He stated that whilst in Botswana he, managed to scoop national championship awards and also represented Botswana in various competitions held outside the country.
“In 2003 is when I finished Form 5, I decided to do something further with my Judo. I went to America where I was also studying. I had requested for sponsorship from the BNSC but did not get any. This did not demoralize me; I went ahead with my plan,” he said.
He further said though he did not have a coach, he managed to attain reputable positions in the various competitions he competed in whilst in America.
“Upon finishing my studies, I went to California and in 2007, I competed in a competition in which one gained points to qualify for Olympic Games. I scooped position two and having gained points for Olympic Games in 2008, I decided to embark on fund raising to help me qualify for the next Olympics Games,” he noted.
Monyatsiwa explained that he then started engaging in TV shows to raise money for himself.
“I did a few American TV shows to raise money and during this time I also did other martial arts,” he added. By the end of 2008, the young man’s talent in Judo was recognized by many and he got sponsorship from Gatorade, sponsors of the world’s top athletes. He explained that during this period, he also got recognition from the Japanese people who offered to assist him with everything in preparations for the Olympic Games. He asserted that he has since applied for sponsorships in Botswana as it would make him happy to represent his country knowing they too had an input in his achievements.
“My aim is to fully represent my country and it would really be good if my country had an input,” he said.
He went on to say he will be leaving for Japan soon to start training for the next two years before the Olympic Games.
The president of Botswana Judo Federation, Estony Hattingh, expressed her admiration to Monyatsiwa, noting that it is not everybody and every day that you would see someone leave everything they have to follow their sport passion. She stated that the federation will do all they can possibly do to help him with his financial needs.
“I admire this guy for giving up everything to continue with his judo career to represent Botswana at the Olympic Games. He has no funding yet and is financially supporting himself; as a Federation, we are going to apply for funding from the BNSC via the Zebra Fund to see if we can give him the necessary financial support,” she said.
She explained that they have also since set up a marketing committee to help him find sponsors.
“We are also going to contact the International Judo Federation to see if they can help Monyatsiwa in a way,” she added.