Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) president, Sensei Tshepho Bathai made history over the weekend when he became the first Motswana to be elected as Commonwealth Karate Federation third vice president.
Bathai was elected into the position during a Commonwealth Karate Federation (CKF) elective congress that was held in Durban. The position carries a four-year term.
CKF president is Sonny Pillay from South Africa and the first vice president is Billy Brennan from United Kingdom.
Craig Covey from Canada is the secretary general while the treasurer is Albert Marais from South Africa.
Initially, Bathai was campaigning for the position of secretary general. He told Sport Monitor yesterday that he decided to shift positions at the last minute. He said the Europeans had interests in the position and it was decided that there should be some changes.
“The secretary general has to deal with International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Commonwealth on a day-to-day basis and Europeans are closer to those entities. As much as the vice president is a high position than the secretary general, we had to re-look at the reality on the ground,” he said.
Bathai said as much as his position as the vice president is influential after president,
“I see more developmental programmes for Botswana karate. I see many of our country men and women playing part in commissions and sub structures of the Commonwealth. I would also use my position to develop athletes in the country,” he said.
Asked if the position would change Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) decision to reject BOKA’s proposal of hosting the 2019 UFAK Karate Championship, Bathai said it would give him leverage.
“The new position would definitely assist us. I would be meeting the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, BNSC and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) to share with them my new role.
I am excited about the new challenges ahead and have to lay a good foundation for my country men and women that Batswana can do well and deliver at world stage.
That would make it easy to have people in these positions in the future,” Bathai said.