Gaborone — Botswana’s celebrated karate exponent and astute administrator, Shihan Mpho Bakwadi has shown interest to lead the award-winning code at their next elective congress next month.
Bakwadi will once again face a challenge from the incumbent leader sensei, Tshepo Bathai who will be seeking a third bite at the cherry after leading the karate body in 2014.
Bathai’s administration tenure was short-lived following a motion of no confidence but made a comeback to lead BOKA in May 2017.
Shihan Bakwadi, who made history by becoming the only Motswana to hold the highest grade on offer in Karate, made his intentions clear to the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) executive committee after serving the karate governing body at various levels.
Shihan Bakwadi, a sixth dan karate instructor has attained a World Karate Federation Kata Judge A referee certification.
Bakwadi is currently a chief referee for the karate association and has an array of honours as an athlete under his belt.
Most memorable being Shukokai world champion in Japan in 1994 and had represented the country across continental and world competitions.
Speaking in an interview, Bakwadi kept his fingers crossed that he intended to take the association back to its glory days.
“I intend to implore inclusive leadership, consultation with all karate instructors shall be key to the success of my presidency. Their input and counsel will be the pillar of my tenure.
The welfare of athletes, referees and coaches are of paramount importance.
Well taken care of members would encourage discipline and integrity of the sport,” he said.
Bakwadi, who has an array of experience with youth development, intended to resurrect youth development and support affiliates grow and encouraged to host competitions.
“We need to implement development programmes that feature short, medium and long term goals in order to maintain sustainable and beneficial programs.
Too often, programmes are started and end with a particular administration,” he said.
He said one of his goals was to encourage youth-lead programmes to give the youth tools to be able to grow and take ownership of their efforts and success.
“Grass route development must include not only instruction in karate but also support skills to begin to develop tomorrow’s administrators,” he said.
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Bakwadi, who served as vice president technical for BOKA, vowed to empower technical structures of affiliates and assist in implementing decisions and programmes for the advancement of the sport.
“We need to actively participate in the communities that we want to find talent in. Sharing the principles of karate such as discipline within the communities can also help address and alleviate prevalent social ills such as Gender-Based Violence,” he added.
Bakwadi, who has thrown the hat in to lead a sport code that had been marred by leadership crisis, said he intended to turn the fortunes around by focusing on inclusivity, which he termed as key to any successful organisation.
“Every member has to have a real stake in the association.
By every affiliate having a voice and a vested interest not only keeps the administration in touch with real issues on the ground but also make sure we are and continue to work for our affiliates who have entrusted us with taking our sport to the next level,” he said.
Bakwadi said sport in Botswana must change the mindset and start looking for strategic partnerships that offered varying forms of support not only financial.
Source : BOPA