BOBA hoping for four more spots
Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) have set themselves an ambitious target of securing four more spots at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
As things stand, 23-year-old Keamogetse Kenosi is the only local pugilist certain of a place at the global event.
Indeed, the impressive Francistown fighter was the first African boxer to secure a place at the Olympics following her Gold Medal at the African Qualifiers in Senegal back in February. The history-making DTCB Boxing Club will be the first female to represent Botswana in an Olympic ring an the tenth boxer overall.
Although the country has never had more than two boxers compete at a single Games, BOBA Publicity Secretary, Taolo Tlouetsile revealed the association are targeting a ‘fantastic five’ this time around.
“Our national team is currently in camp and it boasts: Rajab Mahommad, George Molwantwa, Tshephang Kapinga, Aratwa Kasemang and of course Kenosi. We believe the four boxers that have not qualified for the Olympics will make us proud and book themselves spots at the Games,” he said.
Having been in camp for the best part of a month, the boxers will break for festive this Tuesday (22 December). They are due to meet up again in January, as soon as the association has completed their training plans.
Despite his optimism, Tlouetsile admitted preparations had been hampered by the pandemic.
“Covid-19 is our biggest challenge. The team could have attended international camps and maybe a few international matches just to test the level of fitness – but it was not the case because of these travel restrictions! However, I believe we will pull through. Despite these hiccups, the morale in the camp is promising,” concluded the BOBA PS.
If they are to make it to Japan, the four men will have to do it the hard way, with the World Qualifiers in May their only remaining route to the Olympics.
Sounding less than confident at the daunting task before him, Molwantwa told Voice Sport it will be an uphill task to reach the Games.
“It is going to be extremely difficult for one to get a spot at the Olympics, Covid-19 was a great challenge. We did not train well and we have not tasted an international fight or an international camp just to measure our progress.
“I recently had a fight with Kago Kgotlaetsile whom I defeated but I think I still have a long way to go in terms of physical fitness. However, I have set my eyes on qualifying for the Olympics!” stated the BMC Boxing Club fighter, who competes in the U/57Kg weight category.
For his part, Mahommed revealed making it to the Olympics would represent the culmination of a life-long dream
“I have dreamt of myself competing at the Olympic stage and I believe it is that time where I have to work really hard to book a spot at the upcoming Olympics,” declared the Mafika Boxer, who fights in the U/52kg division.