BY: Katlego Mechidi
Unlike any other sport code here in Botswana, boxing has a rich tradition of winning medals at the Commonwealth games.
- Botswana made its debut in 1982 at the games
- Botswana boxing`s success started in 1994 at the commonwealth
- However, Botswana has gone two consecutive tournaments without glory in Boxing
BOTSWANA BOXING NEEDED ONLY 12 YEARS TO DOMINATE BOTSWANA MEDAL TABLE
Ever since it took part in its first major event in 1982, boxing has grown in Botswana and has been one of the best sports code which always brings medals home specifically at the commonwealth games. It only took them twelve years to deliver the commonwealth medal and when it came, they made it their tradition.
Botswana’s boxing has a proud history at commonwealth games with some of the country’s biggest names such as France Mabiletsa, Lechedzani Luza just to mention a few having won medals for the country at the games.
Ever since Botswana took part in the commonwealth games in 1974 she has a total of 12 medals of which six come from boxing, five from athletics, and one from lawn bowls which is the first medal of the country having been delivered by Flora Flora Anderson back in 1986.
FRANCE MABILETSA PIONEERED BOTSWANA`S SUCCESS AT THE GAMES
The local boxing’s success started in 1994 when France Mabiletsa won a bronze medal at the Victoria Commonwealth games, then in 2002 Lechedzani Luza and Gilbert Khunwane added to boxing’s medal collection by winning silver and bronze respectively, in 2006 Mmoloki Nogeng scooped bronze medal and the last time boxing delivered a medal at the commonwealth games was in 2010 in Delhi, India courtesy of Tirafalo Seoko and Oteng Oteng after winning silver and bronze respectively.
While local boxing’s success started in 1994, their most successful spell came in the past their commonwealth games as she made a collection of five medals from 2002 to 2010.
This tradition was broken in 2014 at the Glasgow commonwealth games when the local boxers came home empty-handed, Botswana Boxing Association(BOBA) sent five boxers, all of them could not advance to the semifinals. In 2018 the medal drought continued to haunt Botswana Boxing Association as all the local boxers crashed out in the preliminary stages and the favorite medal hope, Mahommed Otukile being defeated in the quarter-final.
CURRENT CROP OF BOXERS NEED INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE TO FOLLOW THE TRADITION
Boxing national team coach, Lechedzani Luza revealed after the last commonwealth games that the local boxers need international exposure because they have few world-class competitions. He said there is no consistency in the national team saying it will be beneficial if boxers get international exposure.
“If we had an international league arrangement like athletics for example we would achieve big thing”, said Luza in the media.
Having gone two consecutive medal droughts at the games, team Botswana now is focusing on the 2022 Birmingham games with the hopes of renewing their tradition.
Botswana has pinned her hopes on the likes of Keamogetse Kenosi and Rajab Mohammed to build a strong team around them ahead of the next games.