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Dojo to accelerate Judo in Botswana

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Botswana Judokas can look forward to improving their skills and hopefully participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, thanks to the construction of a first-ever Judo dojo, which commenced this week in Gaborone with a ground breaking ceremony.

Youth, Sport and Culture Minister Thapelo Olopeng joined the Ambassador of Japan to Botswana Masahiro Onishi to officiate the ceremony on Tuesday. Speaking during the occasion Ambassador Onishi said he hopes when the dojo is complete it will help improve the skills of local Judokas so they can achieve “remarkable results” during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“This will be possible through the technical assistance of both the Japanese and local coaches,” he said. The Dojo construction follows the signing of a grant contract between the two countries amounting to P971 695 (87, 750 US$). Onishi said a volunteer senior Judo instructor has already been dispatched to Botswana to coach local Judokas. “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the efforts of the Botswana Judo Federation (BJF) and for the cooperation of all those concerned who have made the start of this project a reality” said Onishi on Tuesday.

Minister Olopeng applauded Botswana Judo federation as one of the national sport associations that have shown great potential for growth and contributed towards the building of youth through sports. “The federation (BJF) contributed one silver and bronze medal during the 2nd African Youth Games in 2014,” he said.

Furthermore, they went on to deliver one gold medal, 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals at the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Under 20 Games. The judo team also managed position 5 and 7 at the All African Games in September 2015. Recently in April 2016 at Commonwealth Judo championships they got 2 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals.

Ambassador revealed that while 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the independence of Botswana it is also the year that “we celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Botswana and Japan.”

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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