There is a new sport in town and it could open doors to more Olympic opportunities for locals in the future.
Modern Fencing, as the sport is commonly known worldwide, is a family friendly sport that is set to make ground in Botswana.
The board already has plans to send one of their fencers, Resego Bokete, a Motswana female, to compete in the World Junior Championship that will be held in Jordan at end of March this year.
Bokete holds a bronze medal from the Sabre fencing competitions that were held in South Africa last December.
For most Batswana, the only knowledge they have on the sport is what they have seen on television, and the internet.
To some, the fencers appear to be fighting with swords while the protective clothing is heavy and resembles a bee keeper’s costume.
Although it was first registered with the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) in 2007, the sport has been slow to take off because the board has been awaiting affiliation from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC).
President of the Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS), John Volleybregt, has expressed disappointment at the BNSC for taking years to grant them affiliation because he said that this is the only thing holding them back from promoting the sport and attaining a wide membership base. They are hoping that affiliation will bring them funds to hire a part-time coach to develop and promote the sport.
They are also looking for a venue to build a modern fencing facility.
“We have big plans for the sport; we want to take it countrywide, introduce it to junior schools, secondary schools, tertiary schools as well as the general public, we want to take it to the streets and attract anyone who is interested in joining. So far, our main problem is lack of funds and awaiting affiliation from the BNSC,” said Volleybregt.
Fencing is a sport that has been in existence since the 19th century and as it is an Olympic sport.
The sport uses three types of “weapons”, the foil, sabre and an epee. Volleybregt said that at the moment they have the necessary practice equipment for any member who wants to join them. He said that the association is open to donations and sponsorship deals from individual companies or any interested parties that take interest in the sport.
“We also want the BNSC to affiliate us as a matter of urgency because we have been given no reasons for this delay since 2007,” said Volleybregt.
The association can be reached at [email protected] or by mailed at P. O. Box 202293, Gaborone.