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Punching for redemption

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Punching for redemption

Boxing eyes, two more Olympic spots

With the Olympics postponed to next year, Botswana Boxing Association (BBA) National Team Coach, Lechedzani Master Luza intends to use the extra time to qualify two more boxers for the global sporting phenomenon.

To date, female pugilist Keamogetse Sadie Kenosi is the only boxer to qualify for the games, which will be held in Tokyo in July 2020.

However, Luza is adamant that current African Champion, Mahommed Rajab Otukile can join the feisty Francistowner in Japan.

Otukile, who fights in the U/52kg category, was due to leave for Paris this month (May) to take part in the second round of Olympic qualifiers. The event, like all other sporting meets, has since been suspended indefinitely.

Punching for redemption
AFRICAN CHAMPION: Otukile

Speaking exclusively to Voice Sport this week, Luza described Covid-19 as a curse but also a potential blessing to his boxers.

Whilst he admitted the pandemic was likely to disrupt his fighters’ form, Luza explained there was also opportunity amidst the disruption.

“The break is going to affect us and it might not be possible for us to go to Thailand and France for international training. It can also help us to have more time to prepare. It can work in our favour as we now stand a chance to send another boxer to join Mahommed at the qualifiers,” he said, adding the association has now submitted a proposal to Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) requesting an extra slot at the qualifiers.

According to Luza, he has shortlisted the final slot down to four boxers but is yet to make a choice on who will receive the opportunity of a lifetime and a shot at a potential ticket to Tokyo.

Highlighting the difficult conditions the association works under, Luza ruefully revealed, “I gave our national team boxers a training plan and some are struggling because they do not have punching bags at home, they just throw their fists in the air! They just do push-ups, skipping rope and run around their houses because they cannot do road work.”

For his part, 23-year-old Otukile said that whilst the postponement has affected him psychologically, he has been in constant contact with the national team psychologist

“He has been counseling him. We interact via WhatsApp and he sends me voice notes to make sure I do not lose focus,” explained the Lobatse native, who announced himself as the best in the continent with his stunning Gold medal at the Africa Games in Morocco last August

The confident fighter remains supremely optimistic that he has what it takes to make it to Japan.

“I was really looking forward to the qualifiers and I stand a better chance to qualify for the Olympics. I worked hard with the coach to prepare for them and I had gained momentum form international camps and competitions. I train every day in the morning and evening doing sit-ups, push-ups and jumps.

“I also weigh myself every day. As a boxer you must be disciplined and avoid eating oily and sweet food so that you don’t gain weight,” concluded the toned youth, whose rippling abs and bulging muscles are the envy of many.

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Sports

BTA to submit post COVID-19 roadmap

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BTA to submit post COVID-19 roadmap

Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) President Oaitse Thipe has revealed to Voice Sport their intention to resume their calendar of events in an interview on Wednesday.

The president said they are in the process of submitting names for their skeletal staff permits with the sole aim of completing their sporting calendar.

Thipe told Voice Sport that once they shift their gears into motion, they’ll first turn their attention to local tournaments such as Gaborone Club Junior Open and Orapa Open.

“We’ll then move to international tournaments which we anticipate to host this coming October,” he said.

“In addition, the Advanced Course International Tennis Federation (ITF) Level 2 is also in the cards for the end of August,” said Thipe.

The BTA President who came into office last year September said one of their key targets is to increase participation in wheelchair and beach tennis.

“We are expecting a handful of donations such as wheelchairs, rackets and all the necessary beach tennis equipment from ITF this coming June, and that is surely aligned to our mandate,” explained Thipe, further stating that despite some success their nine months in office has not been smooth sailing.

“We’ve successfully hosted a number of courses in which over 16 officials have graduated. We also witnessed the remarkable rise of one of our young talents Denzel (Seetso) flexing his muscle in the continent and becoming the highest ranked African player,” he said proudly.

The president however lamented their lack of money which has hampered their intention to increase coaches across the country, a key component to having more players plying their trade in elite competitions across Europe and the United States of America.

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Daggers drawn for BFA top post

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Daggers drawn for BFA top post

Uncertainty over the looming Botswana Football Association (BFA) elective congress was finally cleared this week when the Electoral Committee announced 8th of August as a date for the d-day.

The BFA elections were left in limbo since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent suspension of all football matters.

Briefing the media this week, board chairperson Moemedi Leina said since the elections will be held in the middle of a State of Emergency the elections board will be guided by the Covid 19 Task Force.

He said citizens aged between 30 and 75 years and without any criminal record can begin submitting their names for possible election starting on the 1st to the 12th of June.

Battle for the BFA’s top post promises to be a bare knuckled contest, with four prominent figures already looking set to throw their names into the hat.

Incumbent, Maclean Letshwiti will face stiff competition from former BFA president Tebogo Sebego, politician Boyce Sebetela and former BFA Chief Executive Officer Ookeditse Malesu.

The four potential candidates are already canvasing for votes across regions, and attempting to sway delegates to their sides.

While few have publicly stated their intention to stand for elections, Francistown Regional Football Association Chairperson Maokaneng Bontshetse has long declared his candidature for the Vice President 2 position.

Bontshetse, a shrewd sports administrator is one of the longest serving football servants in the country.

He prides himself as the founder of the Zebras Supporters Club.

Letina has however advised potential candidates that there are certain requirements they must meet in order to be eligible.

He said candidates should be active in football structures and not be insolvent.

“We’re also not going to allow people from other sports codes. The committee will vet from June 22-29 and publish candidates’ names on June 30,” he said.

Letina further said they will then allow for appeals or queries for the next two weeks before publishing the final list on 23rd July.

“During the appeals period, we’ll simultaneously compile and prepare a voters roll. This year there will be no elections in the regions after the General Assembly resolved that regional committees will run for four years, which means their terms ends in 2022,” said Letina.

Meanwhile the association Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo said their medical team is working round the clock to prepare for the return of football action.

Last week Ministry of Sports approved the resumption of football activities operations for the premier league and first division games from the 1st of June.

Mfolo said the medical team is to submit the final guidelines to the BFA National Executive Committee so that teams can start competitive football.

He said there are certain Covid-19 regulations they need to adhere to.

The league is left with 13 games to complete the season.

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