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Karate hosting prospects look gloom

Hosting fight: Karate could miss out on hosting the Commonwealth Championships PICS: PHATSIMO KAPENG & KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The Botswana Karate Association’s (BOKA) prospects of hosting the Commonwealth Karate Championships in 2023 appear gloom due to lack of government funds.

BOKA has been awarded the rights to host the tournament, but the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has asked the karate body to put its preparations on hold.

This follows amid reports the government was broke to finance the project as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is fully felt. “For now we have not approved the hosting. We are still doing consultations,” acting BNSC chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho said. The BNSC and BOKA issued a joint statement this week on putting preparations for the event on hold pending consultations. It is reported that the government is not too keen to finance the hosting due to a tight budget. “There is a feeling that there is no convincing case to host the tournament. The cost-benefit analysis is not in favour of BOKA. Yes, there would be benefits in terms of team preparations, but other than that there is no legacy, particularly in terms of infrastructure.

However, there are reports that BOKA has sourced funding for some infrastructure development, but this was not included in their presentation,” a government source said. BOKA president, Tshepho Bathai said he could not comment on the matter, as agreed with

BNSC until consultations have been finalised.

 However, Bathai has previously indicated the benefits of hosting the tournament. “The championships would bring a lot of benefits to the country with 15 development centres all with training mats, 18 World qualified referees, seven World qualified coaches, 30 first aiders, six video review equipment, seven World Karate Federation (WKF) approved tournament mats, World-class athletes, Long Term Athletes Development Framework and training equipment,” Bathai said.

He said there would be a training facility developed and a BOKA leadership academy would be set up, in addition to improved governance structures. He said there would be 60 tablets and two computers left for the office. Bathai said they intend to purchase two heavy-duty printers, train two administrators on television and broadcasting rights and also improve event management skills.

“We are looking forward to the championships leaving a legacy of sports medicine through workshops that would be conducted. We also expect BOKA medical commission to have the best practice structures.

The economy would also benefit, especially businesses in Gaborone. After hosting this event, we expect improved relations with WKF, CKF, Commonwealth Sport and International Olympic Committee,” Bathai said in a previous interview.


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