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The Botswana Fencing Federation has plans to grow the sport beyond the capital city Gaborone where it has remained confined for many years.
Currently there are about seven fencing clubs in Botswana mostly located in Gaborone, Jwaneng, Tlokweng and Mogoditshane with only one located in Letlhakane. The sport also has only 11 coaches who are all based in Gaborone.
In an interview, BFF public relations officer, Thabile Pilane indicated that their intention is to engage stakeholders to assist them grow the sport to other parts of the country. Following that, she said they will then facilitate their Gaborone based coaches to assist grow the sport countrywide.
“There are still a lot of people out there who are going to take time to know what fencing is, so what we can do is to be more interactive with the public and take it outside Gaborone,” she told Times Sports.
Pilane believes they still have a long way to go particularly when it comes to the development of fencing because the federation does not have that much of support financially. The PRO revealed that the only consistent fund they get is the P50 000 grant from BNSC which she indicated goes to the administrative issues.
To address that, Pilane stated that are trying to be independent and source sponsorships from other companies which she hopes will bear fruits next year.
As for growing the sport from the grass root level, she said they are also lagging behind hence they have engaged BNSC so that they can help them grow the sport through the Reba Bona Ha program.
“With the absence of school sport we are struggling because we have not been able to penetrate the schools,” she said.
Thobega added that women interest in the sport is also lagging behind as compared to that of men as most of their athletes are males.
Meanwhile, the Federation will host the National Championships in Gaborone, University of Botswana Student Centre next weekend and clubs that are expected to take part include UB Hornets, Tlokweng Fencing Club, Thobega Fencing Academy, Active Generation and Marketeers and Mini Marketers.
According to Pilane, through the tournament, a national team will be selected that will represent the country at the Junior and Cadet African Championships set for Egypt next year.
So far the federation has attended other international competitions that include the Senior World Championships, three African Championships and the Commonwealth Games.