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Bogatsu: A rising Taekwondo star



THE MASTER: Oarabile is a Taekwando star

Oarabile Bogatsu of Botswana Taekwondo Federation had to battle racism when studying in Malaysia for him to become one of the finest Taekwondo athletes in Botswana. Being an aspiring black athlete based in a foreign country back in 2008 seemed more like a curse than a blessing to him.

Today he proudly lifts his 3rd Dan Black Belt and chases the Grandmaster title. He might just become the first grandmaster to ever come out of Botswana given his deep desire and ambition.
The 30 year- old Bogatsu fell in love with Taekwondo for the very first time when he was studying Software Engineering in Malaysia.

“I tried Karate but it was not exciting enough for me until one day when I walked out of class and saw Taekwondo athletes flying everywhere, I was instantly hooked,” Bogatsu said.Bogatsu fell straight into the blessed hands of Master Tony Lee.

Lee as Bogatsu describes him was such a pain; well at least in a caring and sweet manner. He pushed him to be what he never thought he would become, an athlete of repute. “He was not one for many words, his question was if I really wanted to be a champion, my response to that is what changed my life forever,” Bogatsu said.

A few months down the line Bogatsu won gold during his maiden Malaysian University Taekwondo Championships. It was a scary affair as he was fighting athletes from different countries. Since then he never backed down, with his lips strongly pressed together, he held firmly to the championship title for three consecutive years since 2008.

Dethroning the Malaysian national team champion, who was highly praised in his home country, was enough to send a strong signal that he also, was equally capable. However, it had to take another round of convincing results for him to be considered capable.

“I remember defeating one Asian athlete who failed to accept that he was defeated by a black person. He went all racist on me and it left me deeply hurt,” Bogatsu said.It did not only end there, at times, when he stepped into the elevator, they will all go out leaving him to use the elevator alone.

“They at one point got used to the idea of Africans because during my time, there were only a few of us there,” he said.Bogatsu returned to Botswana in 2012 and continued his journey with coach Gladys Njoroge.

He continued to dominate under her coaching style, winning against the likes of Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa. He now sits in the executive committee of Taekwondo Botswana as Secretary General.

The ambitious Bogatsu took a break from active fighting this year and will be returning to the ring in full swing next year. He has five more stages to reach before he finally becomes a grandmaster.

“No matter how long it takes I will attain that grandmaster title, that is my ultimate goal,” Bogatsu said. His greatest achievement will be sharing the ring with Korean athlete, Lee D

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Volleyball coach explains selection of national team



Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) national team coach Kabo Ntshinogang says winning a league performance award does not guarantee national team call up.

Ntshinogang was responding to complaints made by some players recently that the national team squad is decided on favoritism and not merit. To their surprise, some players that were honored for exceptional play in the 2018 Mascom league were missing from the preliminary national team list that was released by the federation recently. The national team is preparing for the All Africa games qualifiers to be held in Mozambique later this month.

“Yes it is true, not all who were honored by Mascom last year made it into the team. Winning an award does not book a seat in the national team, a lot of things go into being selected as national team material,” Ntshinogang said this week.

The coach in charge of the ladies’ team explained that in some instances, a player can score many points in one particular game while a more talented player might have been absent on the day.
That, he said could make other talented players fail to collect points and catch up, as every game is different.

“We use the league to gauge performance however, we can never all agree on who is best suited a place in the national team. Difference in opinions will always come in and perhaps provide a healthy debate,” the coach said.

Ntshinogang added that if he indeed used favoritism to pick his team then his side of Mafolofolo Club would be dominating the list. Nevertheless, Kutlwano players are the ones with a large number of players at national team level. On the men side, assistant coach Kealeboga Mmekwane said that contrary to negative reports he came across, Kesaobaka Lenkopane of BDF XI, who was the 2018 league best setter has been invited to training but has not showed up yet.

“He was omitted from the list yes but we have since contacted his coach that the player should join the national team during training,” he said. Mmekwane continued to note that another omitted name was Meffery Chindumbo who is a foreigner and could not be called for national team duty. He revealed that they look into matters such as height, skill and the defence ability when they select their preferred team.

He explained that it was hard picking names and they were forced to rely on past experiences. “There is no league and we had to think hard to come up with a competitive team,” he said. For their first training, Mmekwane noted that the players are all a bit rusty as they are returning from a long break, saying some have even gained weight. He however expressed confidence that they will qualify for the games as they have over the years established themselves as a powerhouse in the region.

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Marape increases Botswana’s medal tally



Women Fide Master (WFM) Naledi Marape dazzled at the just ended Zone 4.3 championships held in Madagascar. She brought home a bronze medal.

The 2019 edition was the young Marape’s second zonal competition having finished on 5th position in Mozambique last year. Nevertheless, she emerged all hell bent to leave an impressive mark in Madagascar as she defeated highly ranked players to increase Botswana ‘s medal tally.

Marape emulated winning ways of Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis who finished in second position, grabbing a silver medal. Francis returned to the Chessboard following a short break from the game, itching to defend her 2018 bronze medal. She would however go up the ranks and give way for the developing star that is Marape.

It seems Marape drew inspiration from the experienced side of Francis and rightly put her foot down. The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson Kutlwano Tatolo explained that Marape is actually chasing her first Olympiad appearance next year.

“She has been doing well and one of the best youth players, however, competition is very stiff and she will need to work extra hard to improve her game,” she said. Tatolo described Marape as a player still full of energy and thirsty for success saying her level of growth in the game was promising.

However, Marape began the year on a low note and actually lost out on forming part of the ten Metropolitan Championships ladies’ finalists, thus the urge to keep busy drove her to international excellence.

The BCF had sent only one female representative to Madagascar however, Marape and another youth side in Women Candidate Master (WCM) Natalie Banda sponsored themselves to attend the zonal competition. Banda, who was making a debut at the tournament, finished in an impressive 8th position and she was given a trophy for being the youngest participant at the tournament.

Meanwhile, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho who recently won the Metropolitan championship failed to defend his 2018 silver medal in the open section but instead dropped to position 13.
His counterpart International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, finished on the 6th place.

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