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
The 37th Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Annual Sports Awards nominees were announced in Gaborone this week.
Addressing members of the media and stakeholders this week, the BNSC chairman Solly Reikeletseng said the glitzy and glamour award ceremony scheduled for Gaborone will be held in two weeks time. The sports person of the year category is arguably one of the biggest awards of the glamorous night. The nominees include 800m runner Nijel Amos, African Karate champion Ofentse Bakwadi and chess player Thuso Mosutha. However Amos’ year has been riddled with injuries and disappointments.
The 800m runner does not have much to write home about since winning Botswana’s only Olympic medal. Another sports person of the year nominee being, Thuso Mosutha surprised everyone last year after unseating Providence Oatlhotse to book himself a place at the 2016 World Chess Olympiad in Baku, where he qualified as a Candidate Master.
Botswana’s karate sensation Ofentse Bakwadi comes as favourite to scoop the 2017 sports man of the year award following a stellar year at the international stage. Bakwadi brought home two gold medals from the World Championships in Australia. Bakwadi has also made it into the World Karate Federation rankings after brilliant performances in international stages like Dubai in the UAE.
Meanwhile local sports enthusiasts will be surprised to learn that world 200m and 400m runner Isaac Makwala does not feature in the Sports person of the year nomination list. The award has been eluding Makwala over the past few years due to inconsistencies. The key interest at the awards usually is the sports person of the year who happens to be the overall winner. The sports person is usually contested by the sports man and the sports woman of the year. Junior Female Sports Person of the year usually attracts athletes from the Botswana Chess Federation, Botswana Tennis Association and athletics. BCF hosts more youth competitions than most other codes. Besa Masaiti is not a surprise in this category though she did not win anything internationally even though she improved her FIDE ranking.
Tennis protégé Tshegofatso Tsiang who is based at a high performance centre in South Africa is another candidate even though her achievements at the international stage are a bit vague. Another dark horse in the junior women’s category is Galefele Moroko who rose to prominence as one of the few promising athletes at BISA competitions a few years ago. However, the young athlete has also not won any major competition.
The junior male sports person of the year is the only category contested by athletes who competed at the Olympics. Gavin Mogopa is the first Judoka to represent Botswana at the Olympics last year in Rio even though he made it as far as preliminary stages. Karate happens to be one of the most consistent sport codes and thus far and Thabang Setshego comes as no surprise.
Setshego will be a favourite to walk away with the award. Another likely winner is Karabo Sibanda who managed to beat teammate Baboloki Thebe for the nomination. Sibanda’s record at junior and senior level is impressive after finishing 5th in 400m at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sibanda was ranked 2nd fastest Junior 400m in the world in 2016. The sport code of the year is one of the toughest competitions with Botswana Cricket Association (BCA), Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). BCA has one of the best strategies in the land. BCF is one of the few codes to have retained sponsors over the years while the BAA remains one of the high performing codes in the field of play even though administratively it leaves a lot to be desired. The coach of the year category nominees is Peter Molefhe (Karate), Mogomotsi Otsetswe (Athletics) and Thebe Setlalekgosi (Boxing). The umpire/referee of the year nominees are Edgar Serole (volleyball). Joshua Bondo continues to fly the flag on behalf of the poor performing football team. Gaone Poane of tennis is also nominated. The contest is possibly between Serole and Bondo. The group code of the year pits BOTESSA against BOPSSA. The awards organiser included the category for athletes living with disability since last year. Kedumetse John - Special Olympics and Goitseone Ramontshonyane - Special Olympics contest for this category.
The male sport person with disability Keatlaretse Mabote of PASSOBO and Brightfield Shadi from Special Olympics