Just months after hosting the 2019 UFAK Junior and Senior Championships in Gaborone, Botswana Karate Association(BoKA) is contemplating on bidding for the 2024 Commonwealth Karate Championships. According to the available information the association is currently working on a smooth proposal which they are to submit to the mother body, Botswana National Sports Commission(BNSC) for endorsement .Should BNSC okay the bidding, BoKA will then throw in their name in when bidding process is opened in June 2020.The winning host nation is expected to be announced three months later in September 2020.
As it stands Botswana ‘s only competitors are Sri Lanka and Malaysia who also want to take the biennial tournament to the Asian continent . However the main question that remains is, does Botswana meet the requirements to host the tournament of this magnitude considering that the Commonwealth Federation consists of great membership from across the world. However from the look of things it seems like Botswana meet all the requirements which have been set aside for a country to host the competition. The requirement set include that the bidding nation should be a member in good standing , have enough hotels to accommodate all the 53 member countries, have locally qualified world referees and have an arena which meets world standard in terms of capacity.
Therefore Boka’s bid is likely to stand a chance since the University of Botswana Indoor Sports arena is available and was lastly used for the UFAK Championships .The state of art facility which remains of the best in the country so far has a seating capacity of 3000 people therefore is a perfect venue which BoKA can hand in in their bid. In the past the facility has hosted high profile events like CUCSA Championships, FIBA Africa Zone VI Club Championship Playoffs, UFAK Championships and Netball Youth World Cup. Accommodation does not provide any challenge due to the availability of hotels like Oasis Motel, Grand Palm and Cresta.
BoKA spokesperson Isaiah Ramontshonyane have since confirmed the development and shared that hosting the tournament might cost as much as P2.5 million. However when considering the fact that the government injected P3 million into the hosting of UFAK some months back it is quite obvious that sponsoring the hosting of Commonwealth championships might not be a challenge. When quizzed why they are interested in bidding for Commonwealth Championships, Ramontshonyane said hosting the tournament comes with a lot of benefits.
“This will accelerate the development of Karate in Botswana to be world standard since BoKA will have to ensure that at least 15 referees are qualified under WKF standards. So hosting comes with training more coaches, instructors and administrators such that all meet the elite standard of running sports. In addition athlete development pathway will be implemented to ensure that all karatekas stand a chance to represent the country,” explained Ramontshonyane. Though it is requirement for the host nation to have a couple of WKF qualified referees up to now Botswana has only one umpire of that sort being Mpho Bakwadi.
Already the 2020 tournament has been awarded to England with Birmingham chosen as the host town, therefore it remains to be seen if the 2024 edition will head to Asia or Africa again. In the past years the government through Ministry of Sports has been encouraging local sports federations to bid to host high profile events therefore it will be imperative for BNSC to support Boka’s bid. The last Commonwealth Karate Championships which were held in Africa was in 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa where Botswana won a total of 16 medals being three gold, six silver and seven bronze.