Night of the hero(ine)s of sports

Neo Masanako - BG Correspondent
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
GALAXY OF STARS…Karate athlete Ofentse Bakwadi has been nominated at the National Sports Awards GALAXY OF STARS…Karate athlete Ofentse Bakwadi has been nominated at the National Sports Awards

The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) will tomorrow host the National sports awards ceremony at the Baisago Convention Centre. The biggest question however is if Ofentse Bakwadi of Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) will finally receive the Sports person of the year crown or not.

Bakwadi, a four -time consecutive sports man of the year nominee has seen the biggest award of sports person elude him perennially. Back in 2016, Zibani Chikanda of Boxing beat him to the race, in 2017; Karabo Sibanda of athletics bagged it while last year, it was Emmanuel Kgaboetsile, a Badminton Umpire who was named the man of the night.

It remains to be seen if the 34 year old will this time around smile all the way to the bank or he still has to play the waiting game a little bit longer. Shaykex, as he is known to his peers specializes in Kata and has in the past few years conquered Africa and named continent champion. He comes to the glitz and glamour night having won Bronze in individual Kata at the commonwealth championships last year and also won silver at the Africa Karate Championships in Rwanda.“I really want the sportsperson award with every fibre of my being, I have won the sports man back in 2012 and in 2017 but I never got the taste of the glamorous award,” Bakwadi said this week.

Baboloki Thebe, the 400 m runner, will also come as a dangerous threat to Bakwadi’s envisioned kingdom. Thebe, who has seen his career marred with life threatening injuries, finally rose to the occasion last year after being downed for some time. The young athlete won Gold at the 2018 Africa Athletics Championships and scooped silver at the commonwealth games. He also assisted the 4x400m men’s team win Gold at the same competition. It will be a much needed breakthrough that Thebe has been longing for, the young athlete has been living under the shadows and lime -light might be what he needs ahead of the upcoming 2020 Olympics. Both Thebe and Sibanda burst into the athletics scenes a few years back and Sibanda was somehow fortunate to win both the sports man and sports person award back in 2017.

On the ladies’ side, Christine Botlogetswe, 400m runner appears well positioned to get the sports woman award. Botlogetswe, who recently earned herself a name of ‘PB’ for personal best, had a relatively good year too. She helped the ladies 4x400m relay team win bronze at the commonwealth games and also a silver medalist at the 2018 Africa Championships.

However, Gaoleseletse Gasekgonwe of Volleyball is also anxiously waiting to learn if she too will be named amongst the best. Gasekgonwe has proved to be a most valuable player locally and was selected best attacker at the Zone VI Club Championships.The junior female category and one of the highly contested areas has Entle Maungwa, who outdid herself by winning bronze in the female individual Kata at the Africa Karate championships. Besa Masaite of Chess had a rich year conquering both Africa and dominating local competitions.

She also made her maiden appearance at the Chess Olympiad. Another possible winner is in Oarabile Tshosa who was placed 5th at the International Schools Championship in Morocco and a bronze medalist during the 100m battle of Region 5 games. Other nominees include James Freeman of swimming, Bernard Olesitse of Athletics and Denzel Seetso from Tennis under the junior male sportsperson. 

Familiar names of Tshepo Bathai (Karate) and Mothokomedi Thabano (Chess) made it back to the sports administrator list together with Duncan Segabo of BOTESSA. Mogomotsi Otsetswe of Athletics will clash with Peter Molefhe of Karate for the coach of the year accolade while Edwin Masuge, Bose Mokgwathi and Bonolo Joseph are lined up for the sportsperson with Disability male category

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