Sensei Jones goes international
Sensei Moses Jones was last week appointment as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ambassador (representing Karate and approved by the World Karate Federation) for Prevention of Manipulation of Competition.
The 38-year-old Francistown-born Jones is the former two times Africa Karate Champion, British Open Silver Medalist, and Commonwealth three times Silver Medalist.
Competition manipulation is the act of intentionally altering the course of a match or competition to ensure that a specific event occurs.
It can take many different forms, such as an athlete intentionally losing to face an easier opponent in the next round of the tournament or performing a certain action during a match to make a bet successful.
Not only the athletes but anyone on the field of play, like a referee or a technical official, can potentially manipulate an event. “Match-fixing,” “Spot-fixing” and “Tanking” are related terms, which fall under the wider description of competition manipulation.
Our reporter Portia Mlilo interviewed this Karate Coach about his journey in sport and his new role.
Q. Congratulations on your recent appointment as IOC ambassador for the prevention of manipulation of competition, what does this mean for you?
A. It brings a lot of excitement and I thank BNOC for availing of the opportunity. This role allows me to network with other International former athletes.
Q. What were the criteria used for the appointment?
A. The opportunity came through BNOC, they approached our Athletes Commission requesting us to play a role in this unit.
So I showed interest in the position.
Q. Kindly share what your role entails?
A. Reporting or working with BNOC Compliance officer Seno.
We are using an international framework from IOC.
Currently, I’m working as an Ambassador representing Botswana through BNOC and waiting for Guidelines for working with World Karate Federation.
The role focuses more on raising awareness on Competition Manipulation and being able to build networks.
It will ensure that Athletes are equipped with the right information.
Q. Why is it important to have an Ambassador for manipulation of competition?
A. This is to help promote fair play in sport.
To help eliminate crime-related activities in sports by ensuring that we bring necessary services to athletes.
It can happen in any sport at any time.
If you are persuaded, forced, or bribed to underperform or to perform a specific action during a match, that is competition manipulation.
Q. Do we have such cases in our country? If yes, kindly share the numbers.
A. This is a new unit, and our country has absorbed it recently under Compliance Officer Mr. Fred Seno.
I cannot confirm if we have cases related to competition manipulation or deny it as we are learning more about it.
Q. What plans do you have in place to ensure that you educate athletes about the manipulation of competition?
A. We have designed an awareness campaign that will target firstly Tokyo 2020 games athletes and support team.
Then after there will be a workshop that will include all athletes and support structures.
As an athlete, you must make yourself aware of what it is, and how to react to suspicions of competition manipulation.
Q. What’s the procedure of reporting when one suspects manipulation of competition?
A. The process involves one reporting through availed Toll-free lines.
Alternatively, they can approach the BNOC Compliance officer or Ambassador who will provide a guide on steps to take.
It will include linking the information with the IOC investigation team which is made up of the INTERPOL unit.
It’s a process that will look at the nature of the case as you might be aware that in major games this might involve gambling activities.
Q. Who inspired you to join Karate?
A. The love for martial arts movies I watched as a child inspired me to join the sport.
I was also motivated by the five-time undefeated Africa Karate Champion Thabiso Maretlwaneng.
I enjoyed watching him compete.
I joined karate in 1995 at Selolwe Junior School and also trained at Thebe Karate club in Francistown.
Q. What have been some of your greatest achievements as an athlete?
A. Winning my first National Junior Zone 6 karate Gold medal and Senior Africa Karate Championship.
Also competing against former World Karate Federation Champion Rorry Daniels at the Karate Commonwealth competition where I lost 2-1.
Q. What have been your disappointments or lowlights in your career as an athlete?
A. My lowlight in sport was when Botswana National Sports Commission rejected my application for a scholarship to study Exercises Science at Middlesex University.
I was on Zebra elite scholarship for karate training in the Uk.
While there, I was admitted to Middlesex but I couldn’t afford the tuition fee.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being a Coach?
A. I enjoy coaching Kumite.
It allowed me to mold athletes in terms of discipline and also improving their skills.
This was an amazing experience for me.
I assisted Sensei George Tshikare in the junior national team when Botswana won two silver medals at the Junior Africa Championship.
I am currently running elite development program at my gym, Active Moves Gym in Gaborone.
Q. How has the suspension of the sport due to the Covid-19 pandemic affected your coaching career?
A. Covid has shattered our dreams, for both coaches and athletes.
It affected our training and sport development. Some Coaches depend on the money they make from being personal trainers for athletes now they are struggling since the games stopped.
Q. What advice can you give to those aspiring coaches in Karate?
A. Don’t skip any level of training to be a coach.
Start with assisting or coaching at the club level.
Learn the process of athletes’ development so that you teach them the right skills.
Q. Who is your inspiration?
A. My God is my inspiration.
He guides and challenges me to explore more in life.
Q. Thank God it’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?
A. Honestly, as sportspeople weekends, depress us because we no longer do what we love most.
So I will be studying and learning about the new role.