Just when our hopes were fizzling, in the face of recent sport failures, a young woman has applied a timely kiss of life.
Out of the blue, when a nation was growing increasingly despondent, hopes have been rekindled.
This week, featherweight boxer, Keamogetse Kenosi defied odds to book her place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the process, she became the first local woman boxer, in the country’s boxing history to qualify for the biggest global showpiece.
What made her achievement exquisitely sweeter is that she became the first woman in the world to book her place for this coming Olympics.
It was completely unexpected as Kenosi had watched all her local counterparts fall by the wayside in their bid to qualify for the Olympics.
Botswana, led by the first citizen, President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, was thrown into ecstasy after Kenosi’s moment.
There has been a lack of enthusiasm around sports of late, but the latest achievement, will hopefully restore belief and engender relief.
Kenosi has sent a message that it is possible, particularly for the girl child. It is heartening to note that out of the four athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Games, three are female.
This could signal a paradigm shift where a boy child has traditionally received support to participate in sport.
But women have proved equally capable. Amantle Montsho became the first world champion from Botswana, and has played her part in inspiring the girl child to take up sport.
However, Kenosi’s achievement should not be reduced to an issue of gender equality.
Instead, it should be embraced as a clarion call to
The youth are amongst the most affected by rising unemployment, but Kenosi’s exploits provide a critical reminder of sport’s importance.
There have been initiatives to elevate sport to a level where it can be a genuine employment creator, but in most cases, the ball has been dropped. However, we are comforted by the constant reminders from athletes such as Nijel Amos, Kenosi, Montsho, Isaac Makwala, Christine Botlogetswe, Gaelefele Moroko and many others, that the nation cannot afford to be complacent.
The grant for sport has remained stagnant for ages, but performances have been banging louder for a mindset shift.
And this cannot be ignored anymore.
The fact that President Masisi was amongst the first to congratulate Kenosi, bears testimony that even the highest office in the land acknowledges the gains made. All aspiring sportspersons can draw a lot of inspiration from Kenosi’s achievement; there is a career to be made out of sport.
Not all students are academically gifted, and sport offers a useful avenue to a decent life.
However, all stakeholders must adopt an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach, to ensure there is a common destination.
Kenosi has shown, where there is a will, there is a way. Let all dreams be realised.
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
– Billie Jean King