Gaborone — Two athletes from the Botswana Amateur Fencing Association (BAFS) will next month return home from South Africa after completing an eight-month fencing coaching programme.
The duo; Tshepo Chigu and Koketso Masena benefitted from a programme through which BAFS sent athletes to world-class training institutions under the auspices of the International Fencing Federation (FIE).
BAFS public relations officer; Ewetse Khama said Chigu and Masena were the second batch to undergo the training, while in the association's inaugural opportunity to benefit from the programme last year, two athletes Karabo Thobega and Aobakwe Modise had been sent to Dakar, Senegal.
In a recent interview, Khama explained that whereas the aim of the training of contribute to the holistic development of fencing athletes, one of its key aspects is to develop them into coaches.
He was optimistic that given the outcome the association was witnessing, following Thobega and Modise's being part of the training programme, BAFS would be able to realise its dream to grow the sport locally.
"From the first batch, Karabo is doing quite well. He is a very good example of the good things that can come out of this initiative," he said.
He said Thobega, who founded Thobega Fencing Academy, was contributing immensely to the association's efforts to develop the sport and make it more visible.
Two weeks ago, Thobega Fencing Academy hosted its annual tournament that brought together several local fencing clubs, where athletes had the opportunity to face off in both team and individual events.
Khama said while in the first year BAFS sent a male and female, and males only this year, it had proposed a lot of females' names for next year's batch as the association wants to be more inclusive.
Chigu, a beneficiary, hailed the programme, saying they had learnt a lot and would be able to help grow the sport once they had returned home.
He said though Botswana is still far from reaching international standards in fencing, initiatives such as the FIE training programme would add on to efforts to help the country grow and be able to successfully compete internationally.
He said of the many things they were being taught through the programme are the role of a coach, referring, athlete development, how to manage training camps and development of coaching plans.
Source : BOPA