Two Batswana Wrestlers Participate At Beach Wrestling Championships

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For the first time since the establishment of beach wrestling in Botswana in 2003, a moment of history beckons as a female wrestler Kelebogile Basupi (70kg) and male wrestler Jeffias Kulube (80kg) are billed to take part at the Senior Africa Beach Wrestling Championships to be held in Senegal, Dakar from the 22nd -23rd June 2024.

The duo, will be amongst other wrestlers from 32 African countries who will be taking part at the competition. Team Botswana left for Senegal at the beginning of this week for the competitions.

In an interview, Team Botswana’s coach Dr Moagi Sharp said preparations for the competitions started at the beginning of the year, with the hosting of different beach wrestling competitions.

Sharp stated that his team is set to take part in the competition without any pressure to win because it would be their first time taking part in that kind of competition. He noted that their wish is for a podium finish – which would be an achievement for the nation.

Sharp further highlighted the importance of the competitions in gauging the country’s rankings in World Wrestling. Sharp stated that obtaining a good rank is very important for them as Botswana Wrestling Federation because it will help attract the much needed grants from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). He also said that the rankings may give them an opportunity to be recognised by other local sport regulators, which may result in the development of the sport in Botswana.

‘‘Our desire is to win medals, but if we don’t win, our wish is to be ranked among other top countries that we will be competing with, I will organise some friendly matches for my wrestlers with other Africa beach wrestling powerhouses like Senegal and Cameroon, that would make them gain experience and skills that they can teach others back home,” he said.

He further said the reason they are fielding only two wrestlers was primarily due to a lack of financial muscle, owing to lack of sponsorships. He stated that their trip is financed by United World Wrestling, a governing body of sport worldwide and the expenses covers flight tickets, accommodation and meals for four nights.

Meanwhile, Sharp said that as Botswana Wrestling Federation continues to make strides in developing the sport, having established the beach wrestling grass root development programs in Selibe Phikwe, Letlhakane and Gaborone.

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