When South Africa inexplicably withdrew from hosting the Zone VI Karate Championships scheduled for the end of June, the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) moved swiftly to rescue the situation. The local sport body, with full blessings from the Botswana National Sports Council, will now host other Southern African countries at the tournament expected to be staged at the Rainbow School Hall in Gaborone on June 30.
This will not be the first time BOKA hosts the championship, having done so successfully three years ago when the games took place at Ditshupo Hall. According to BOKA spokesperson, Jerry Ditlhong, four countries - Zimbabwe, Namibia Mozambique and South Africa – remain the only ones so far to confirm their participation, with further confirmation still expected from Zambia and Angola. Ditlhong said the national team selected from the BOKA junior and senior championships had been training with their respective clubs around the country and would be well-prepared to challenge for honours in the tournament.
Ditlhong said the junior national team is expected to field 67 athletes under the tutelage of coach George Tshikare, adding that the senior team of 32 athletes will be trained by Francistown-based coach Otto Tafa. South Africa are currently the championship’s defending champions after winning most gold medals at the last zonal tournament held in Mozambique.