- No medal target set for bouts in Maputo but team is bolstered by Modukanele’s Commonwealth bronze
The Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) has assembled a strong team to represent the country at the forthcoming African Amateur Boxing Championships in Maputo, the Secretary General of the organisation, Taolo Tlouetsile, has told the Business Weekly Sports.
The country will be represented by 10 boxers for the premier showpiece that is set for the Mozambican capital from 9 to 18 September.
The championships have attracted over 12 African countries and will serve as preparatory round for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers that are due in January next year.
“The team comprises six male boxers and four female boxers,” said Tlouetsile in a telephone interview. “They have been in a training camp since August 19 and we can confidently say we have assembled a strong team out of which five participated in the recent Commonwealth Games.” One of the five, Lethabo Modukanele, won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games that took place in Birmingham, England from 28 July to 8 August. Modukanele earned her bronze after advancing to the semifinals of the women’s minimum weight category.
Although the team is clearly bolstered by Modukanele’s outstanding Commonwealth record, BoBA is not setting them any specific performance target for Maputo. “We do not have a medal target for them at the championships,” said Tlouetsile said. “We do not want to put them under any pressure by setting a medal target for them. We just expect them to do well because this team is dominated by a lot of boxers who have taken part in bigger competitions before.”
But how are the preps for the championships going? “As already noted, five of our team members took part in the Commonwealth Games and have been in the preparations,” Tlouetsile answered. “This means the team is fit for purpose, which is to correct minor problems that may be there.”
Even so, he noted that it may be a snag that the team is going into the continental showpiece without having had an international friendly tournament. “We also didn’t have an international friendly prior to the Commonwealth,” he noted. “That is not good because the international friendlies are essential for gauging boxers’ readiness and preparing their minds for bigger fights.”
He added that financial constraints are another problem that actually compelled BoBA to send a smaller team to Maputo than it desired. “This means that we are leaving behind a lot of good boxers who will miss much-needed exposure,” he said. “A bigger team would mean bigger more medal chances to make the nation proud.” But inspite of the difficulties, BoBA’s youth team is preparing for the AUSC Games that are billed for Malawi in December. “They have had a 10-day camp this month but have been released to get ready for school when the third term starts next week,” said Tlouetsile. “Yes, the team is dominated by secondary school students.”