Botswana’s only female Taekwondo athlete at the ongoing All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, Karabo Kula, proceeded to the next round of the competition after winning her preliminary bout this morning.
The 16-year-old athlete competing in the under 46kg category, advanced to the next round after defeating her opponent, Sadia Leancho, of Central African Republic 37-18.
Her next bout this afternoon is against Farhani Fadia from Tunisia.
Speaking to Voice Sport, Kula said when the game started she was a bit nervous because she did not know anything about her opponent.
She said just a few minutes into the game, she quickly studied her rival’s movements and managed to control the game.
“I do not know much about the Tunisia athlete but she is short, and it’s something that I can use to my advantage. My aim is to win a medal. I will go all out to book myself a ticket for the Olympics qualifiers. I’m not expecting an easy fight but I have to win this one so that I can proceed to the semi finals,” said Kula
She said she just has to play her game and follow the coach’s instructions.
Kula said for the past two months she has been preparing for the games training 6 hours everyday with the other two male senior players.
Last year she represented Botswana in the Youth Africa Games but got eliminated in the first round.
She started off her sporting career as a Karateka when she was 9.
After three years she developed interest in Taekwondo because her three brothers also play the sport.
She said she learnt a lot from the youth games, perfected her weaknesses and made them her strengths.
Taekwondo Head Coach, Gladys Njoroge, said she was happy with the results and commended Kula for adapting well. The Coach said the youngster outdid herself beyond expectation.
“Her opponent was very competitive but she applied the tactics well and won. I told her to keep a distance and not play close to the opponent because of the height and it worked for us. She understands the rules of the game clearly and we are expecting her to win a medal for us, ” said Njoroge
Coach Njoroge said Kula has a lot of potential and that such international events will give her exposure.
For Kula to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Njoroge says, she needs to improve her World rankings by winning major games.
The coach says winning a medal will give the athlete a chance to reach the qualifiers and that depending on her performance, the technical desk can recommend her for the Olympics.