Brilliant Alakanani Warona promises to be a Fencing Star
By KAGISO FOX PHATSIMO
Alakanani Warona is well on his path to becoming a Fencing Super Star judging from his brilliant showing in recent competitions. He has made a habit of winning a medal in every major tournament he competes in. The 12-year-old was impressive at the 2017 Gaborone Open tournament, which was staged at Fairground Holdings Pavilion Hall in Gaborone on Saturday.
Alakanani, of the Thobega Fencing Academy (TFA), won a silver medal in the U20 Epee category, after a close match with gold medallist, Owen Rankgwa, of the Musketeers Fencing Club (MFC). Normally, a player his age competes in the U13 age group, but Alakanani is too advanced for his peers.
He was able to push his seniors to the limit to the delight of his coach, Master Karabo Thobega, who encourages him to punch above his weight every time. The spirited youngster never disappoints. He made light work of athletes much older than him on his way to the final.
“I encourage him to compete with his seniors all the time because I know his capabilities. If he signed up for the U13 Boys Epee it would have been a land slide. He would have won gold with ease,” Master Thobega said.
“I prefer that he contests in age groups where he will be challenged and pushed to the limit. That always gets the best out of him. This was evident in his great showing in the Gaborone Open, he gave fencers older than him a run for their money. The boy is going places.”
The 2017 Gaborone Open was the Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS)'s third event of the year. Prior to the National Ranking tournament, Alakanani had won a silver medal in the U17 Epee category at the 2017 Namibian Open, which was held in Windhoek where he also attended a Training Camp in October.
The young fencer also won a bronze in the U20 Epee category, at the BAFS’ National Championships, held in Gaborone in September. He has been consistently impressive in the sport since he started in 2014.
In a post-tournament interview with Echo Sport on Saturday, Alakanani said he benefited from the Namibian Training Camp, and was aiming for better next season.
“I was happy to visit Namibia. It was my first time. The Training Camp I attended alongside Master Thobega was helpful. I learned new techniques of how to manoeuvre on the piste. My charges are now more calculated than before,” Alakanani said.
“Playing against new opponents at the Namibian Open also exposed me to different styles of Fencing. The competition in Windhoek was by far the most difficult I have faced, and I was happy to win a medal.”
Alakanani also said he is happy to face his seniors as per Master Thobega’s instruction. He believes with his coach’s help he will continue to cause upsets and get better.
The weekend’s event was attended Tlokweng Fencing Club (TFC), T.X. Fencing Squad (TXFS), the Musketeers Fencing Club (MFC), Legae Fencing Club (LFC), the University of Botswana Fencing Club (UBFC), Thobega Fencing Academy (TFA) and Westwood Fencing Club (WFC). The BAFS will now focus on National team training Camps ahead of the 2017 Gauteng Open in December.
Gaborone Open Fencing Tournament Full Results
Senior Men Sabre
Sam Chape (MFC)
Karabo Thobega (TFA)
Koketso Masena (MFC)
Laone Lesejana (TFC)
Senior Women Sabre
Thato Mpoloka (TXFS)
Senior Women Epee
Aobakwe Modise (TFC)
Olebogeng Khanda (UBFC)
Thabile Pilane (TFC)
Junior Men Epee
Owen Rankgwa (MFC)
Alakanani Warona (TFA)
Kgosi Tsimele (TFC)
Katlego Poonyane (TFC)
Junior Women Epee
Olorato Makabe (UBFC)
Pamela Masikara (UBFC)
Benjamin Boy Epee
Aone Maswabi (LFC)
Lebone Mosinye (LFC)
Rethabile Makaba (LFC)
Kgotso Mbakile (LFC)
Benjamin Girls Epee
Suwilanji Mulenga (WFC)