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January 6, 2017

Celebrating the memory of Mr Keikuse Itsubo

Two years ago, on the 9th of October 2014 Mr Keisuke Itsubo was involved in a fatal accident on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Itsubo was assigned to the Botswana JUDO Federation where he served as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV). His duty was to coach the Judo national team and to visit primary schools providing them with Judo training.

Itsubo was a breath of fresh air: always active, working with high energy level and he's wish was to contribute to the development of Judo in Botswana, more than anybody else has. Itsubo was loved by the people of Botswana and adored by his community.

Two years have passed since the day of his passing, yet Itsubo's spirit remains in Botswana and is now inherited by the people of his community. He created a great impact in people's lives during his stay in Botswana. One greatly impacted person goes by the name of Gavin Mogopa; a Judo athlete that represented Botswana in the 2016 Olympics earlier last year. Mogopa unfortunately lost to a representative of Czech Republic within 1 minute and 15 seconds of his first round in the competition.

When Mogopa was asked about his experience and participation he said: "I gave it my all but I felt disappointed at my performance results".

At the tender age of 11, Mogopa's mother recommended that her son start Judo as an extra curriculum and so he did. Mogopa was eager to improve his Judo skills and in 2013 he met Itsubo. Since then he was able to receive aculeate technical training. The sudden death of Itsubo was a result of an accident that occurred on Table Mountain and the news brought great sadness to Itsubo's friends in Botswana and family in Japan. It all came as a great shock and great loss.

"Mr Itsugo had the goal of making us stronger for the Olympic Games," said Mr Mogopa.

In November 2015, Mogopa received a life changing opportunity which would help him achieve the dream birthed by his late coach. Mogopa was invited to Tokai University in Japan to receive high quality training which encouraged him to train harder than before. Itsubo was actually planning to send Mogopa to Tokai University before his sudden death and after his passing Tokai University invited Mogopa.

The Judo training centre in Botswana which is currently under construction is funded by Japanese government to help develop the sport and provide high level training to Judo athletes in the country.

"I have confidence that I will be stronger and go to Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020" said Mogopa. He is already looking forward to the next competition which will be held in the home country of his mentor. We have no doubt that Mogopa will make us all proud!

In remembrance of Keisuke Itsubo, may his soul rest in Peace.

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