Professor Martin Mokgwathi

BY:Kabelo Seleka

In the night of glitz and glamour at Baisago Convention Centre, the biggest  accolade of the evening, Sportsperson of the Year award controversially went to a badminton umpire Emmanuel Kgaboetsile ahead of the all famous Isaac Makwala on September 15 2018 38th Botswana Sports Awards.

Kgaboetsile whom scooped another award for Umpire of the Year has in the year 2017 officiated at the World Junior Championships in Indonesia and at the French Open Super Series respectively including women’s doubles finals match.

He was incharge of 44 matches at the World Senior Championship hosted at India,including men singles finals.Kgaboetsile was also appointed  to the Africa Badminton Technical Officials Committee for 3 years.

Additionally it is reported that he trains and mentors other umpires in the game.Other nominees were Dorothy Okachi of basketball and Tshepo Kelaotswe of Athletics.

In a bit of a shock to him and sports fanatics,Kgaboitsile was also named Sportsperson of the year ahead of other infield sportsman and woman of the year winners on the night.

The category surprisingly had no nominees.Strangely the category is sponsored to a tune of P100 000 by his apparent employer Debswana.

Unprecedentedly he shockingly thanked his employers.

“I want to thank my employers for letting me do badminton work”he said.

Makwala was tipped to take it home with ease although it is being said that he boycotted the awards knowing that he is not going to take it home by not showing up.

Nonetheless BNSC has made it clear that the award winner does not necessarily have to be an athlete,but a sportsperson in general as in an official included when speaking to the media earlier.

Kgaboitsile became the first ever non Athlete to win the award in Botswana.

Kgaboetsile follows in the great footsteps of  Joy Neville of Ireland Rugby whom recently won the same accolade internationally while non-athlete.

Junior Female Sportsperson of the year-Oarabile Tshosa-Athletics
Junior Male Sportsperson of the year-Bernard Olesitse-Athletics (400m)
Sports Administrator of the Year- Motlhokomedi Thabano (President BCF)-Chess
National Team of the Year
Men 4 X 400m Relay  (Baboloki Thebe, Nijel Amos, Isaac Makwala, Leaname Maotoanong, Onkabetse Nkobolo & Karabo Sibanda)                                             
National Sport Association (NSA) of the Year-Botswana Athletics Association 
Sportswoman of the Year-Lame Hetanang   – Karate
Sportsman of the Yea- Isaac Makwala – Athletics
Umpire/Referee of the Year-Emmanuel Kgaboetsile-Badminton
Non-Citizen Award-Shelton Benjamin

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