Botswana Women International Master (WIM) Boikhutso Mudongo was temporarily forced to pull out of the the 2016 Olympiad chess championships in Baku, Azerbaijan following the death of her sister.
Mudongo had played two of the 11 rounds matches before she learnt about her sister’s death. Mudongo flew back into Botswana this past weekend leaving the ladies team without a reserve at the ongoing Olympiad games expected to finish on the 13th of October.
While it is not clear whether Mudongo will return to the squad later in the championships after the burial, she is likely to miss action for the rest of the week. Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Spokesperson Keenese Katisenge told The Telegraph that they are “deeply saddened by the loss that does not only affect the player but the nation at large.”
‘’Mudongo has returned back home after the sudden loss of her sister and the BCF hereby express its condolences to the player and family for this irreparable. Mudongo is an integral member of the squad and her experience was vital for the team at the games but there was no choice as it is important that she attend the funeral,” said Katisenge.
Katisenge added that “The team will continue to compete at the games without a reserve player in the women section and we believe they will put in all their efforts to play to the level best.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mudongo said the passing of her sister came as a shock to her and her team mates.
‘’This has been a very difficult of my life. I was torn apart looking at the fact that some of my team mates are inexperienced and looked up to me as the pillar of the team. I had to come back home for the funeral. I realised my sister’s departure affected not only me but the whole camp. I believe they will be strong and perform to their best,” said Mudongo.
Meanwhile, Botswana started the games on a low note with the men’s team losing all their first three matches while the ladies lost two and managed a single win in their three rounds. The men’s team lost to Panama and Mexico while the women lost to Austria and Malaysia and beat their African counterparts Angola.
Botswana Men team is made up of Candidate Master Moakofi Notha, Ndawana Mosenya, Thuso Mosutha, Otsile Mapini and Keletshabile Monnatsheko. Women team consist of Woman International Master Onkemetse Francis, Woman Fide Master Thapelo Francis, Mabedi Mbo and Palesa Khumo Mooketsi. A total of 140 countries are taking part in the women section while 180 countries are taking part in the men section.