Emmanuel Kgaboetsile on Tuesday left for London where he will become the first Motswana to officiate at the Olympic Games.
Kgaboetsile of Rakops will be one of the 40 badminton line judges chosen by the Badminton World Federation to officiate at the London 2012 games. A badminton line judges is the equivalent of an assistant referee in football.
Speaking to Voice Sport as he waited for his flight at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Kgaboetsile 31, described officiating at the Olympics as the best thing to have happened to him in his life.
“I’m elated. Very few people get such an opportunity. I would have been happy just to be a volunteer at the games. Officiating at the games is mind blowing. I am looking forward to doing a good job and being a good ambassador for my country,” he said. Quizzed on how he came to be an internationally had this to say: “I was a good player in my days and was National Senior Schools Champion in 1999 whilst at Letlhakane Senior School.
I never got to play for the national team but got called to several camps. In part failing to make the national team drove me to quit playing. I did not want to be lost to the game and decided to be an umpire. I am happy I did that. I am going to the Olympics,” he said. His dream to be an umpire started off in 2006 when he went for his first course. A year later he got his first international assignment as a line judge at the 2007 African Youth Championships in Mauritius.
Since then he has become an accredited Badminton World Federation match official and has officiated at some high profile events amongst them the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore, the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix, the 2010 World Championships in India and this year’s All Africa Games in Maputo Mozambique. The University Of Botswana IT graduate who is employed as an IT Administrator by Debswana attributes his success to the support he gets from his family and his employers. “My whole family is behind me. The fact that Debswana has sports leave for its employees also helps,” he said.