Botswana ready for African Karate Championship
At least 25 African countries are expected to descend into Botswana for the 2019 African Karate Championships in the second week of July.
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) will host the Championships at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena in Gaborone on the 9th of July.
The karate event which is the biggest in the region will be targeted by some of the continent’s best Karatekas in their bid to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games and World Beach Games.
Both the World Karate and Commonwealth Presidents are expected to grace the continental meet.
Giving the media an update on their preparations this Wednesday, Local Organising Committee Chairperson Dr Edwin Dikoloti said 25 countries have already confirmed their participation and about 832 athletes have registered.
Dikoloti however said he expects the number of participating countries to increase to 35 as registration will be on until 1st July. He said they are ready to host this event and
“This is a big event which is equivalent to the ongoing AFCON. We’ll start activations with team Botswana to hype the event this Saturday,” said Dikoloti.
To ensure accountability and financial prudence, Dikoloti said they have roped in an audit firm as one of the sponsors.
“In the past we’ve had issues of debts after hosting events of this magnitude. We want everything to be redelivered within budget. We only have P3million which we’ll also use to prepare the team, while a huge chunk of it will go towards paying for the venue,” he said.
For his part, BOKA President Tshepo Bathai assured local media that team Botswana is ready to compete and possibly send a few athletes to the Olympics.
“Just recently the team went to Namibia and participated in a local championships as part of their preparations. This weekend they will be camping at UB, and on Sunday they are leaving to train at the Bloemfontein High Performance Centre to finalise their preparations,” he said.
Bathai further said they have engaged different experts to work on their level of fitness and skill.
“The team will be back in the country on the 8th of July, and will be ready to win medals for the nation,” he said confidently.
Sharing the same sentiments, medal prospect and Senior National team athlete Ofentse Bakwadi said he was happy with the progress of their training.
Bakwadi who recently won bronze and silver at the African Beach Games said the games in Morocco have sharpened him for the July Championships.
“I believe in the team assembled by our coaches. With a little dedication we are capable of winning medals,” he said.
The Games’ official opening will be on the 12th of July.
Tickets are sold at P20 and P50 at all Spar outlets across the country.