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Fencing activities far in between

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The growth of fencing in Botswana continues to be stifled by lack of activity and commitment from affiliates. This past weekend Botswana Amateur Fencing Association (BAFS) affiliates failed to show up for a tournament held in Gaborone. Nevertheless, the tournament went on with a hand full of athletes at the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) dojo. In an interview this week, tournament organiser Thato Mpolokang said the categories included cadets and seniors athletes both male and female. “Ages ranged from nine years to 40 years.

There was also a male veteran who was competing against senior man. Some clubs did not attend but the number of athletes competing was not bad either in all categories including epee and sabre,” Mpolokang said. Nevertheless, fencing master Mpolokang who financed the tournament from her own pocket said she was satisfied with the athletes who turned up for the event. “Some parents came out to support their kids for the first time in large numbers. This shows great interest towards this sport.” Mpolokang said it was a crying shame that the local fencing association has not hosted any games since earlier in July this year. “That was when we had our 1st tournament which made me think really hard about this.

I wanted to add more games to the calendar.” I started planning to host this tournament in July through my own company “Cake meets Art” which was the sole sponsor. “It was not as easy as I thought but I managed to pay for everything including the venue, medals and trophies and logistics” “Our committee BAFS had nothing to do with the 1st annual T.X. fencing competion they just borrowed me fencing equipment. All the financial burden was carried by myself. Nevertheless, I had some help from Master Karabo Thobega who is also a fencing coach.

He assisted in terms of looking for things for the event he was my right hand man.Mpolokang (24) started fencing in 2015 where she secured silver against South Africa. That was when my love for the sport developed. I have since competed both local and out side the country.” I also hold level 2 diplomas in sabre fencing from a training academy in Budapest, Hungary last year 2016. This made me the 1st female Master in Botswana.Mpolokang will next compete at the Gaborone Open scheduled for October.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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