Local boxers who took part at the just ended Africa Boxing Confederation Championships that were held in Maputo, Mozambique from the 13th – 17th September have made an impressive and memorable display, bringing home six medals.
Botswana came out 7th in the championships were 24 countries participated, getting three bronze medals, two silver medals and a gold medal. The championships served as preparatory round for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers that are due to be held in January next year.
Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) had sent the senior ladies and men’s teams to participate at the competitions, comprising of only 9 boxers plus the technical team
Lethabo Modukanele, Phekie Belle and Kobamelo Molatlhegi won bronze medals. Aratwa Kasemang and George Molwantwa won silver medals while Keamotse Kenosi won the gold medal. Gold medallists received US$10,000, silver medallists US$5,000, while bronze medallists got US$2,500.
In interview with Times Sport, Head Coach, Thebe Setlalekgosi said while the team’s performance was not at its expected best, they made history winning six medals taking into consideration the fact that they only had nine boxers who participated as compared to other countries.
According to Setlalekgosi the team had a busy schedule prior the competitions since its preparations for the African Zone 4 Boxing Championships that were held in April 2022 in Maputo and the Commonwealth games held in Birmingham, England from the 28th July-8th August. He said the boxers were fatigued, and had few weeks to prepare for the championships.
“We didn’t have a medal target for the championships because we did not want to put the boxers under any pressure, we just expected them to do well because the team was dominated by a lot of boxers who have taken part in bigger competitions before,” he noted.
Setlalekgosi believes that the boxers have the potential to qualify for the Olympics if given the much needed support. He lamented that challenges such as lack of financial support and inadequate training facilities may hinder the performance of the boxers.
Meanwhile, assistant coach Pearl Morake has commended the lady boxers for doing well in the sport that is currently dominated by men. She was also pleased to be given an opportunity to be part of the team as a coach that went to Maputo.