Ntlo Ya Dikgosi (NYD) member and Tonota representative Kgosi Kgosiadialwa Moalosi is expected to table a motion requesting the government to ban under 16 boys and girls from competing in amateur boxing ranks.
According to Ntlo ya Dikgosi order paper dated 3rd November 2017, the motion was to be debated at the just ended session of Ntlo ya Dikgosi. Moalosi argues that boxing is a dangerous sport that can be a health hazard resulting in brain damage at an early age.
Reached for further clarity on the issue this week, Moalosi told BG Sport that he was not in a position to discuss the matter at the moment. However, he could not be drawn into giving reasons as to what motivated the motion.
“There are reasons as to why the motion was not passed, but it will be tabled in the near future,” he said in an interview this week.
Meanwhile the issue has stirred up mixed reactions within the local boxing community, with some accusing Moalosi of being ignorant and totally out of touch with the combat sport.
In an interview this past Wednesday, President of Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) Thato Patlakwe said the community needs to be educated about the sport of boxing because clearly, some have the wrong idea about it. Patlakwe said the boxing association has advised Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture Development to assist in shedding some light.Patlakwe added that they have no proven record of young boxers who suffered brain damage because of boxing. “I only know that senior athletes are the ones often prone to injuries, not minors, perhaps the recent death of a local boxer is still a thorn in the flesh for some people,” he said.
For his part, the headcoach at Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) boxing club Thebe Setlalekgosi said in his boxing career, he has never heard of any case where a child suffered brain damage because of boxing, “He needs to support his claim with solid evidence.”
The clearly unimpressed, Setlalekgosi deemed Kgosi Moalosi‘s arguments as baseless and defined boxing as a beautiful sport like any other sporting code out there. He argued that brain damage does not have any age limits and it can even occur in senior athletes.
Former Botswana light heavyweight boxer, France Mabiletsa said doing away with young boxers will be a big blow to boxing development in the country. He noted that the decision will see Botswana withdrawing from participating at the Youth Olympics. “Talent is best untapped at an early age. At the age of 17 and above, it might get a little difficult for athletes and even coaches,” he said.
However, Mabiletsa advised that they should respect Kgosi Moalosi’s suggestions and understand where he is coming from. “People should not get worked up because of his suggestions rather hear him out and maybe seek the intervention of the BNSC and the ministry on the issue.”Reached for comment, former national team boxer Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza said everything has to be thoroughly researched before it can be proposed, arguing that children in foreign country start boxing training as early as eight years of age.
He explained that there are different stages in boxing and children go through all the stages to prevent issues of permanently injuring upcoming athletes.“People who are less informed often find fault where there is none, during bouts, boxers compete according to age and weight, that on its own guards against facing opponents who are stronger and reduces the punching impact.