Fencing struggling to make an impact
Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS) National Team Coach and Technical Director Karabo Thobega has decried the slow growth of the sport in the country.
In an interview with Voice Sport this week, Thobega said even though fencing was introduced back in 2007, it took them 11 years to finally compete at international level.
“Our maiden international participation was in 2018 at the Africa Fencing Championships which was held in Tunisia,” he said.
Thobega told Voice Sport that although it was their first outing into the world, they put on an impressive show, finishing 19th out of 38 competing countries.
The following year, fencer Aobakwe Madise was thrown into the deep end representing her country for the first time at the 2019 World Fencing Championships in Hungary.
“She had stage fright but put on a brave fight on the world stage. After the Championships we went back to the drawing board and came up with a better strategy,” he said.
However, Thobega said Covid-19 came at a time when they were in the process of evaluating their strategies to find out if they were producing the desired results.
“Covid-19 has been a stumbling block,” said a disappointed Thobega.
The BAFS National team tactician and TD revealed to Voice Sport that they got back to action this past weekend since the suspension of sports at the beginning of March.
“We staged a fencing tournament this past weekend and despite the current Covid-19 situation, the turnout of players was great,” revealed Thobega.
“Local fencers were delighted to be back doing what they love, and there was a real competition which suggests that there is more to come,” he said.
Quizzed about the challenges they face as an association, Thobega said their biggest challenge is finance. He said fencing is an expensive sport as one gear can fetch a whopping P4000.
“The weapons we use also are very expensive and lack financial support has been a hindrance to the growth of the sport,” Thobega told Voice Sport Sport.
BAFS has a total of six affiliates which include Tlokweng Fencing Club, Tshepo Fencing Club, Musketeers Fencing Club, Thobega Fencing Academy, University of Botswana (UB) Hornets, and lastly Active Generation Fencing Club.