Mosalagae's injury blessing in disguise

Mosalagae (right) has thrived in amale dominated field
Mosalagae (right) has thrived in amale dominated field

Nshingi Mosalagae’s karate career hit rock bottom when she picked up a knee injury during the Zone VI karate championships held in Johannesburg in 2014.

Little did she know that the setback was actually a blessing in disguise, as she retired from active sport to take up officiating.

At the just-ended 2019 Africa Karate Championships (UFAK) held in Gaborone last week, Mosalagae was the only local woman referee to officiate in the kata and kumite.

She told Mmegi Sport that before UFAK Championships started, all officials underwent courses and she passed with flying colours to attain Kumite Judge B and Kata Judge B certificates.

Mosalagae said the opportunity to officiate at an Africa championship level comes with pressure, but she was able to handle the task as she is now used to tense conditions. Mosalagae said it was the first time she officiated at the UFAK Championships.

“I thought getting an injury was the end of my karate career, but Shihan Mpho Bakwadi advised me to shift my focus to officiating, especially that many women did not have interest in that field. I also got a brief spell as a junior national team player coach in 2014,” she said. Mosalagae made her local debut on the sides of the tatami in 2015. However, her first assignment on the international scene was in 2016.

She was thrown into the lion’s den during the Zone VI Championships in Zimbabwe in 2016.

Mosalagae acknowledged she was nervous, as it was her first international assignment. Mosalagae said she kept her cool to make sure that she delivered a good performance.

Mosalagae said after that, her superiors gave her the thumbs up. She was the only woman officiating at the championship.

“It has been an interesting journey, with fun moments but as a woman in a man-dominated field, it is motivation at the same time. You know, I have to go the extra mile for me to get recognised. So far I am pressing the right buttons and moving up the ladder,” she said.

Mosalagae is the only woman who sits in the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) Referees commission. The 36-year-old Kofukan member said her dream is to attain the World Karate Federation (WKF) referees badge. Bakwadi and Union Kgafela are currently the only two accredited WKF referees in the country.

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