Botswana Table Tennis Association’s (BTTA) upward trajectory is set to continue with the local table tennis mother-body granted the right to host regional countries mid year.
BTTA expressed their interest to host the Region 5 games last year and their bid has been approved by Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) with the games set to be held in June 28th until July 3rd 2023.
The local Ping-Pong body has been busy hosting several competitions amongst them the Independence tournament and National Championships which were held in Jwaneng in December - the two competitions in mention also attracted international athletes.
Speaking to Sun Sport, the association's mouthpiece, Tshegofatso Malepa stated that the successful bid to host the games means the local games continue to make positive strides in their endeavor to become one of the leading associations in the African game.
“Our intensions is to grow the local game, we want to see our players performing well and improve their rankings world-wide,” Malepa shared.
Malepa also highlighted that all the necessary steps have been followed to ensure that they are in line with the local sport governing body, Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) long-term development plan and the right to host competitions.
“We have already reached out to BNSC in December last year and they have given us thumbs-up to host the games,” she said.
Hosting international games in sport entails providing world class facilities, playing venues and other infrastructural developments, including hospitals and roads.
BTTA are already at an advantage looking at some of the facilities they have in Gaborone and Jwaneng, which have already hosted international events.
“We are still trying to improve the facilities that we have, in table tennis there is always a room for improvement looking at the international standards we have to meet. We are looking at Gaborone and
Jwaneng to be our host venues and we are currently engaging with relevant officials but we are confident we will reach an agreement, we have cordial relationship with them,” she added. Although BTTA are yet to divulge the total amount needed to deliver successful games, Malepa noted that they are currently working on sourcing sponsors and or partners to deliver the games, an exercise which she says began last year after they were given the right to host.
“In terms of budget, we are currently operating on a zero budget, we don’t have the means financially. We are running around to source sponsors for the tournament. We started engaging with potential sponsors last year and I believe soon we will announce those who will be coming on board,” she said.
Malepa, who is in South Africa for the 2023 Durban Contenders Series, added that she is currently networking with other officials in the game to explore more opportunities for the local game.
On Tuesday, Tshepiso Rebatenne and Tshenolo Mooketsi won their first round of matches at the tournament, Durban Contenders Series, while Phetso Jack lost his match.