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Top umpire off to Finland

FINLAND BOUND: Kgaboetsile
FINLAND BOUND: Kgaboetsile

Kgaboetsile to officiate at World Team Championship tourney

Botswana Badminton Association’s (BBA) renowned umpire, Emmanuel Kgaboetsile, left for Vantaa, Finland this week where he will get an opportunity to improve his craft officiating at the 2021 World Team Championships.

Having once officiated at the World Championships for Individuals, Kgaboetsile will be hoping to further decorate his colourful portfolio when he makes his debut appearance at the World Championship team events.

Also known as the Sudirman Cup, the tournament comprises of singles and doubles, all scheduled to take place from the 26th of September until the 2nd of October.

Kgaboetsile is not new to officiating high profile tournaments as he was part of the 40 umpires who were adjudicating at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia- where he was one of the four African umpires who officiated at the prestigious event. He also officiated at the 2012 London Olympics, a rare feat that has been achieved by few officials locally.

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The Sudirman Cup is the World Mixed Team Championships which takes place every two years. The Sudirman Cup is a test of the all-round strength of a team. There are five matches in every tie: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Therefore referees and players from the world over are expected to be part of the event, which gives Kgaboetsile a chance to learn from the best.

A renowned BWF umpire, Kgaboetsile who is also a winner of the 2018 Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Sportsperson of the year award says he is looking forward to increase his experience and knowledge in the game.

“As you might be aware there are umpire assessors in all Badminton World Federation(BWF) big tournaments, so for me to get frequent invitations to high profile competitions means one thing- that my performance is world class. It’s a dream for all the umpires or aspiring ones. My assessment report is always good so I’m not surprised getting these high profile tournaments every year. Again this means I should not drop the ball, I have to perform whenever I am given an opportunity,” said the 39 year old Rakops native.

Tasked with training and assessing upcoming umpires in Africa, the sky is the limit for Kgaboetsile. He however believes Botswana can do more to produce more world standards umpires.

“Yes we are lacking more umpires and it’s not only Botswana but Africa as a whole. In badminton I have realized that the standards are low in Africa and we don’t have resources like electronic score sheets and what is known as Video Assistant Referee in football, TV replay. So we only come across those things when we go overseas and it’s difficult to learn that in highly competitive tournaments. In Africa we have only six umpires and every year we are sending umpires to BWF for assessment and it’s difficult for them to pass. So according to me if we can send referees abroad for training they will make it and we will have more qualified umpires locally,” said Kgaboetsile

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