Two boxers will represent Botswana in Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, China in August this year.
The boxers that will be representing Botswana are Thato Batshegi and Khumiso Ikgopoleng.
The Botswana Boxing Association (BABA)’s dream was to send at least four players but that dream was shattered as the local pugilists failed to rise to the occasion during the third African Olympic qualifiers held in Namibia recently.
Of all the boxers that participated in Namibia, only Batshegi managed to book himself a place in the semi finals after thumping his DRC counterpart 10-5 in the quarter finals. He also overpowered another Rwandan opponent in the second round. Ikgopoleng had already qualified for the Olympic Games during the Best African qualifiers that were held in Algeria recently. Another hopeful, Bathusi Mogojane, dismissed his counterpart 18-13 to proceed to the next stage of the competition but was at the receiving end of his opponent in the quarterfinals as he was eliminated.
Other local boxers were knocked out in the first round of the competition.
Herbert Nkabiti lost 10-4 to his counterpart from Cameroon while Moabi Mothiba lost 14-4.
Gomotsang Gaasite lost 6-1 while Kgomotso Bok got a rude awakening when he was demolished 26-8 by his opponent.
BABA’s public relations officer, Willough Kemoen, told Sunday Standard that they were pinning their hopes on Batshegi.
“Batshegi has already qualified for the Olympics even if he looses in the semi finals because he has already qualified for the bronze medal bracket. But our hope is that he qualifies for the gold medal at the Olympics,” said Kemoen.
Kemoen also pointed out that they had earlier pinned their hopes on Kgomotso, who is from the out of school development programme.
“We had hoped that he would put up a brilliant performance as he is one our promising boxers from the out of school development programme. But he was eliminated in the early preliminaries by an experienced Zambian boxer,” he said.
The BABA spokesperson added that Kgomotso got exposure from the competition and would use it to improve on his weaknesses.
“He is a national asset and we hope that in the next five years he will be one of the quality boxers from the programme just like we had boxers like Master Luza,” he said.
He acknowledged that it was a competitive rivalry but could not hide his disappointment at the performances of some boxers.
“We were disappointed by Nkabiti who was beaten 10-4 by his Cameroon counterpart. He is one of the boxers that we thought would do well,” said Kemoeng.
BABA’s dream of sending a strong team, he said, was shattered.
“We would have loved to send at least four players to the Olympic Games.”
He said they have learnt a lesson from the competition and expect the association to draw from the experiences learnt.
“Our four years development programme is expiring soon and we will draw up a new one. We will be guided by the old one and take it from there,” he said.