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BOKA prepares for Commonwealth Championships

BOKA PRESIDENT: Sensei Bathai

P41 million needed for the international event

After winning the rights to host the 2023 Commonwealth Karate Federation Championship last year, Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) has started its preparations for the historic event.

Botswana will be the second African country to host the international tournament after South Africa hosted it on two occasions (2009 in Johannesburg and 2018 in Durban).

BOKA saw off tough competition from Barbados and Sri Lanka to get the nod from Commonwealth Karate Federation.

With just two years left, the association is in the process of assembling a Local Organising Committee (LOC), for the sporting event expected to set the government back a cool P41 million.

Speaking to Voice Sport this week, BOKA President Tshepo Bathai said the Championships are a world-class event that requires them to satisfy a number of requirements.

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He said some of the requirements are the availability of warm-up areas, press room, the capacity of venues and a legacy programme to see how the hosting association is going to benefit from hosting.

“The event will be held in December, and luckily for us, all our students-athletes would be done with their examinations. This is a big opportunity for the country. After this the country will have 15 karate centers across the country and 12 world-class referees,” he said.

Bathai said the country currently has only one world-class referee.

“There’s also going to be a programme to capacitate coaches to help them meet world-class standards to give them a shot at coaching in the championships,” Bathai told Voice Sport.

He further stated that more personnel will be trained on broadcasting rights, which is a key component of sports growth across the world.

“We are also negotiating with Commonwealth Karate Federation to give us all the funds generated from this event,” said Bathai.

“The most exciting news however is that BOKA will build a national team accommodation facility. We’ve already found two sponsors and the internal discussions are ongoing to decide where it should be built. We want to be a lodging facility that’d create revenue for the association,” he said.

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