Judo president refutes corruption claims

Action: Judokas preparing for an international tournament
Action: Judokas preparing for an international tournament

The Botswana Judo Federation (BJF) president, Estony Hattingh has refuted claims she is leading a federation riddled with corruption.

Hattingh said to the contrary, she leads an organised professional code, which complies with local and international judo rules.

“Obviously, a federation would not be nominated if there was maladministration, corruption and favouritism,” Hattingh said.

She said her executive, instead, has a robust plan to grow judo in Botswana.

“Due to our efforts, we received substantial support from the International Judo Federation (IJF) in regards to the development of judo in Botswana,” Hattingh said.

She said her presidency does not contravene IJF statutes.
“It does not contravene the IJF statutes and it is stated that delegates of national federations to the IJF conference must be citizens, a stipulation that I have always been very careful to uphold, having always been accompanied by a citizen of our BJF executive committee,” Hattingh said.

She further said the statute also recognises that many presidents of national judo federations are not citizens of a particularly country, but they provide a proxy form so the president can send a citizen who can accompany him or her and vote by way of proxy, and non-citizen presidents are given permission by the IJF to attend.

Article 8.7 of the IJF, under the Representation of Member National Federations, states that “each Member National Federation may be represented at the Congress by two delegates of the same nationality from that Federation who must mandatorily be chosen from among the members of their own Executive Committees, on the condition they were democratically elected by the clubs.

“They must be registered on the attendance sheet.  Only one of them shall have the right to vote, as each Member National Federation shall have a single vote”.

Hattingh insisted that BJF is in good standing at both the international and continental levels through the IJF and African Judo Union, Southern African Judo Confederation, Commonwealth Judo Association, as well as at BNSC and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC).

Hattingh was named the best administrator at the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) awards in 2013. Hattingh’s response comes amid allegations levelled against her BJF executive committee by some discontented judokas, unnamed current and former officials.

According to a source, judokas intend to boycott future tournaments, until the mess is cleaned up. The source said there was lack of technical support for athletes from the executive committee.

“BJF is led by officials who are always acting within their own personal interests instead of prioritising the welfare of the athletes,” said the source, who added that Hattingh’s presidency is questionable since she is a foreigner.

It is further alleged favouritism in the selection of national teams is prevalent.  “This drive has impacted negatively on the consistency of the development of judo in Botswana,” he said.

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