A major shift was witnessed this past Tuesday as the names of nominees for the revamped annual Botswana sport award were unveiled.
Unlike in the previous years where prominent star names headlined the awards, this year will be all about the under dogs.
To mark a new start for the annual awards, there is no previous winner in almost all the awards categories, including the coveted ones of Sportswoman and Sportsman of the year.
An interesting battle will be on the Sportswoman of the year award, which will pit Keamogetse Kenosi of boxing against Marea Modutlwa of bowling and Galefele Moroko of athletics.
There will be very little to separate the three ladies, all of whom have performed extremely well this past year.
Kenosi and Moroko are reigning African champions in their respective disciplines and are both Tokyo 2020/1 Olympic finalists.
As well as being the first boxer from Botswana, both male and female, to qualify for the Olympics, Kenosi is also the 2019 (Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) National Championship and the 2019 Zone IV Boxing championship bronze medalist.
On the flipside, Moroko, who was a semi-finalist at the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha is also a member of the women 4*400m relay team which won silver at the African games.
While the two would surely be expected to be frontrunners to win the coveted awards, Modutlwa can however spring a surprise.
The bowling star is a gold medalist for the 2019 National fours discipline, 2019 Peter Richards Invitational Pairs tournament also a gold medalist for the 2019 African state tournament and silver medalist in pairs.
In the sportsman of the year, rising pugilist Rajab Otukile will go head to head against 400m track athlete Leungo Scotch.
Like Kenosi and Moroko, both Scotch and Otukile are the reigning continental champions in their respective disciplines, having won gold apiece at the 2019 African Games in Morocco.
Scotch, who is a silver medalist at the BAA National Champions is also part of the men 4X400m relay team which won gold at the 2019 African games, Bahamas National Finals and Manchester International meet. He is also a semi-finalist in 400m at the World Athletics Championships in Doha,2019.
Otukile on the other hand is a gold medalist at the BoBA National Boxing Championships as well as the 2019 Zone IV Boxing Championships gold medalist.
Nominees for the junior female sportsperson of the year as Karabo Kula of taekwando, Refilwe Gabatshwane of chess and Boitshepo Kelapile of athletics.
For junior male sportsperson of the year is Maxwell Sechi of boxing, Bernard Olesitse of athletics and Denzel Seetso of tennis.
Sports Administrator of the year nominees are Thato Patlakwe of boxing, Roslyn Tebele of special Olympics Botswana and Mothokomedi Thabano of chess. No-citizen sports award nominees are Sumod Damodar of criket, Vinay Naicker of taekwando and Mervyn Mitchell of bowling.
Women National team of bowling, lady’s volleyball team of special Olympics and men’s 4*400m relay of athletics stand as nominees of the National team of the year. Botswana Chess Federation, Botswana Cricket Association and Botswana Boxing Association are the National Sports Association (NSA) of the year nominees.
Umpire/ Referee of the year nominees are Dorothy Okatch of Basketball, Emanuel Kgaboetsile of Badminton and Abel Mataboge of Softball. Lechedzani Luza of boxing, Kebonemodisa Mosimanyane of athletics and Patricia Letshwenyo of special Olympics are nominees for coach of the year.
Sportsperson with disability (Female) nominees are Gorata Malehaneng and Maduo Phutshego; sportsperson with disability (Male) nominees are Glad Ketlaaleka, Edwin Masuge of PASSOBO and Mompoloki Mosiiwa.
Meanwhile, BoBA Public Relations Officer (PRO) Taolo Tlouetsile has expressed happiness at the number of nominations BoBA has received.
Along with Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), BoBA has garnered six nominations for the awards.
Tlouetsile says it would be amazing if they can at least win sports man and woman of the year also the administrator of the year; as it will uplift their association.
“We have been nominated for 5 categories. We cannot be certain about how it will go but we believe we stand a chance of winning 6, including code of the year. We have put in a lot of work together as an association for the past 3 years,” he says.