Women’s boxing tourney flops at first hurdle

Despite a resolution taken by Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) leadership and affiliates at an ordinary general meeting held in Gaborone in February, the new way of thinking is yet to bear fruit.

The first tournament was scheduled to take place on the 7th of April but it never materialized. With the amended date (12th August 2018) for the second attempt at hosting a tournament fast approaching, it is not yet clear whether the tournament will be staged or it will follow the fate of the first attempt at hosting the event. The introduction of women’s tournaments was aimed at promoting the sport among women in Botswana.

While the general feeling among boxing enthusiasts is that it is an insurmountable challenge to stage women’s events, BoBA public relations officer Taolo Tlouetsile believes it is too early to write off the tournaments. “It is too early to assume it is not working for us. Clubs should first demonstrate that they have enough women to compete. Then supporters should also appreciate that the women’s bouts are interesting and entertaining and that requires a lot of time and patience,” said Tlouetsile.

According to Tlouetsile, the ever disappointing number of women boxers at the monthly interclub tournaments is the factor that has stalled women’s competitions. “We wanted to have the tournament as planned but if you look at how many women’s bouts were registered during previous interclub tournaments, you will appreciate that they are far below what we expected. It is still difficult to get five ladies’ bouts so far, or even three,” he said.

Questioned on whether the BoBA leadership has met with affiliates to map the way forward, Tlouetsile quickly dismissed the need for a meeting; “Why should we meet? There is no alarming situation here. We act on policy matters; if clubs cannot provide a good number of ladies then our job is to only encourage them because we understand their challenges. Clubs have their own mandates so we cannot interfere with that,” said Tlouetsile.

Global Sport caught up with some club coaches who doubted the prospects of the initiative. “I don’t think we will ever have such tournament; with the current situation, we are even struggling to have men’s bouts now, last week we had only eight bouts. Few years ago we used to have 40 bouts. So boxing has regressed and boxers are suffering because of sports politics,” said DTCB Boxing Club coach Thebe Setlalekgosi.

“The challenge we have is that we meet these girls when they are still doing their basic education then we introduce them to boxing. But as soon as they finish, they go for tertiary and they are done with the sport. In addition, most of them always cite household chores at home as a deterrent to their full commitment to the sport. So they end up quitting because they don’t have that chance to train,” said assistant coach for EMG Boxing Club Zibani Chikanda.