Like other sporting codes, karate deserves sponsorship - Bakwadi
• The holder of karate’s highest refereeing licence wants BOKA presidency
The fact that local karate competitions do not enjoy much sponsorship when Botswana’s national karate teams usually perform well in international competitions is disturbing, Sensei Mpho Bakwadi has said.
Speaking in a telephonic interview with The Business Weekly Sport this week, Bakwadi said a lot must be done to attract sponsors to the code because that can help karatekas to perform even better in international tournaments. “Just imagine how these karatekas would perform if they knew that there were prize monies in every local competition that they took part in,” sensei said.
“It is a given that when one performs well in local competitions, one usually takes the form to international competitions. Something would be good for the country there.”
Other than lack of sponsorship, Sensei Bakwadi is concerned that not much is being done to develop young karatekas. “Grassroots development is not given much attention,” he said. “‘Re Ba Bona Fa’ is a good initiative but there is a lot that can be done to ensure that the programme yields greater results.
“Another of my beliefs is that karate should form a part of all primary and junior secondary schools sports programmes as is the case with the likes of athletics. Karate must be accessible to all youngsters, even those in the deep rurals of Botswana.”
Bakwadi has declared to this publication that he will run for the presidency of the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) whose leadership elections are due on 17 April in order to better attract sponsors to the sport and improve its grassroots development.
He is a 6th Dan karate instructor who was first lured to the sport by Sensei Max Ngwako and Sensei David Hubona when a student at Gaborone Senior Secondary School. He reached a supreme landmark in 2016 when he became the first Motswana to attain a World Karate Federation Kata Judge A referee licence, which is the highest grade in karate.
If he wins the BOKA presidency, Sensei Bakwadi would not be new to the leadership of the association, having deputised Sensei Million Masumbika during his tenure as president of BOKA. “I look up to Masumbika as the best president that BOKA has ever had, in my view,” Bakwadi said.
“He is currently serving as Africa Karate vice president and Zone 6 karate president and is doing a marvelous job, considering that he is the first Motswana to hold these positions. I draw inspiration from him.”