With most male sports personalities dominating local sport, Gopolang Mekgwe has broken boundaries by being the only and first-ever female umpire to represent Botswana in Paris, France during the badminton assessments.
In an effort to improve badminton, Badminton Confederation Africa (BCA) has set an ambition to have the best umpires who can be able to take part in the world tournament.
BCA selects the best representatives that can partake in assessments and also mould them to be able to compete with the world.
Mekgwe found herself chosen over others in Africa to participate at Orleans Masters competitions in Paris.
The assessment took place from March 18 to 24, 2019.
“This assessment helps Africa get more exposure because competitions being played are different in Europe and Africa, so this leaves so many gaps.
In Africa we are used to the analogue system while in Europe they are well vested in the new technological advancements,” Mekgwe said. Mekgwe stated that with technology changing, it is high time Africa changes too the way things are done or risk being dormant in one position without any intention to move forward.
“I was supposed to attend an umpire course in Barcelona last month, but due to lack of funds I did not manage,” she said.
The Botswana Badminton Association (BBA) spokesperson, Barulaganye Ncube said for Mekgwe to be invited to a tournament of this magnitude means a lot. Ncube said the invitation shows great recognition and for her to be part of the assessment will help take her move to the next level.
Mekgwe said African players too need to put in more effort so that they can be able to meet world number one players.
She said this would build their confidence so that they do not panic when given the chance to play with them at some stage.
The tournament was last hosted in Belgium.
Only two umpires would represent Africa being Mekgwe and Faadil Sayed from Mauritius.