The two Botswana boxers representing the country at the ongoing International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Championships in Qatar have crashed out in the preliminary stages of the competition.
Both Zibani Chikanda (81kg) and Kagiso Bagwasi (60kg) succumbed to pressure from international rivals at the competition. Their loss represents a serious dent to Botswana’s chance of entering a boxer at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic games next year. However, in an interview this week, Botswana Boxing Association’s (BoBA) spokesperson Kenny Maragana said there was still a chance for the duo to make it to the Olympic games scheduled for Brazil next year.
“This will depend on the type of opponents they lost against. If the boxers they lost against end up being the best in the tournament, then they might just make it to the Olympic games as well,” he said. In addition, Maragana said the two boxers previously brought home decent results as they each won bronze medals at the recent 2015 All Africa Games while Chikanda brought Silver at the Africa Championship and Bagwasi managed a bronze medal.
In a previous interview, BoBA president Dr Thato Patlakwe had told BG Sport that both the Africa Championships and the World Championships were crucial for Olympic qualifications. The Botswana team that also comprises team manager Healer Modiradilo and stand-in headcoach Emmanuel Galeboe are expected to return home after the competition comes to a close this weekend. The team was not accompanied by headcoach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza who was on another international assignment.
Botswana boxers have only gone as far as the quarterfinals at the Olympic games courtesy of Khumiso Ikgopoleng in 2008. During the 2012 Olympic games in London, the country was represented by a sole boxer Oteng Oteng (52kg), who was eliminated in the preliminary stages.