Mmegi Online :: Battling amateur boxing hits the canvas
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Tuesday 13 November 2018, 16:21 pm.
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Battling amateur boxing hits the canvas

Amateur boxing used to be one of the best performing codes, bringing numerous accolades from high profile international competitions, but now, the sport finds itself hitting the canvas.
By Calistus Kolantsho Fri 08 Jun 2018, 14:42 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Battling amateur boxing hits the canvas








The last time boxing won a recognisable medal at an international platform was during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi through Tirafalo Seoko who got silver while Oteng Oteng finished with a bronze. Oteng went on to compete at the London Olympic Games, but was knocked out in the preliminary round.

In 2017, Mohammed Rajab picked silver during the All Africa Games with Aratwa Kasemang bringing home a bronze.

But at this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, boxing landed at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport empty-handed. The current administration has admitted it faces challenges.

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) acting vice president, Hlanganani Nkutusang Digwere said there has been a decline over the past years.  She attributed the decline to the development structures, which were not fully functional.

“We are currently addressing that decline and I can assure you that we are on track. We had a strategic workshop last weekend to map the way forward,” she said.

Digwere said boBa Re Ba Bona ha centres in Lobatse and Gantsi are up and running.

Digwere said Botswana Tertiary Student Sports Association (BOTESSA) would soon include boxing in their competitions. She said more coaches were trained last year and Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) competitions are also growing.

“We just need more energy to support these structures. Clubs are also doing a lot in shaping the youngsters’ careers,” Digwere said.

Former national team coach, Khumiso Ikgopoleng said normally when there is poor performance, the buck stops with the management.

“If I remember well boxing used to get little funding from the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) 20 years ago, but it was doing well.

All programmes, including development, schools, coaches and athletes’ programmes, were running smoothly, but it seems it is no longer the case. If re ka ikgata motlhala and see what made boxing great in the past, then we can get back on track including how we got sponsorships,” Ikgopoleng said.

He said the boxing family must come together, consult and ask for help from those who ran the office before to see how they managed during their era.

Ikgopoleng said

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it is important to always have experienced people in the executive committee who can guide the association.

“I can say that we should not have used emotions to vote out and vote in people,” he said.

Tsholofelo Boxing Club chairperson, France Mabiletsa admitted that the performance of boxing has declined. He argued that there are many factors that have led to the decline.

“Boxers are selected to the national team having reasonably impressed at club tournaments. The current club coaches are below par. As the sport is growing internationally, our local coaches have other commitments and give coaching less attention. They only appear when they accompany boxers to tournaments,” he said.

Mabiletsa wondered where the coaches and clubs that made boxing successful in the past have gone. He said when such clubs are not able to feed the national team, other clubs should step up to the plate.

“Some club coaches and administrators have abandoned their clubs to look for lucrative positions within the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA). They have left their clubs with coaches and administrators who are below par,” he said.

Mabiletsa said some clubs exist on paper, with administrators only and no boxers. He said such clubs do not contribute during competitions.

“They do not participate in tournaments or general meetings. They subscribe before elections and vote. This is counterproductive to boxing development,” he added.

Mabiletsa said some administrators are in the BoBA board as good campaigners, but are clueless on how to operate at that level.

“They are in the board as politicians. They do not have the qualifications to be there. The BNSC must set minimum standards for board membership,” Mabiletsa said.

Mabiletsa said BNSC has reduced funding of sporting codes and BoBA receives around P900, 000 per year. He said the funds are used for all boxing activities including international competitions.

He said the funds are far from adequate because officials are also paid from the same funds. Mabiletsa does not see the need for the leadership to step down due to declining levels, because even a new committee would face similar challenges

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