Growing up, Tshegofatso Malepa was a big talent and a complete volleyball star. She has in her cabinet, a Botswana 2018 gold CUCCSA volleyball medal to solidify her relevance and contribution to the game. However, it is table tennis that took her out to the world.
After her retirement from volleyball, she pursued a career in the Media Industry, majoring in Public Relations and later ventured into the corporate world.
When she untimely lost her job post COVID-19 last year, her mentor, a radio personality, Kagiso ‘Fox’ Phatsimo recommended Tshegofatso to table tennis and it turned out to be just at a perfect time.
Botswana Table Tennis Association had just lost their mouthpiece, who went to India after being awarded a scholarship opportunity.
Tshegofatso, with her experience in the corporate world and the media industry was then roped in to take charge as the communications manager of the association.
Little over four months, her impact in the local tennis affairs has been apparent and the international community has taken notice of her impressive output.
Malepa is part of the World Table Tennis Contender series, which started this tuesday in Durban , South Africa, roped in as the Media Liaison officer.
“I am happy because this is quite an achievement for me, looking at the fact that I have been in table tennis for a short period of time, the recognition from Ping-Pong Africa is big for me. In Botswana, there aren’t many women leading in sport, there are so many challenges that women have to deal with, so this is a welcome breakthrough for me to get an international recognition and also be engaged by the South Africa Table Tennis Association is really a huge accomplishment for me,” she reflected on her appointment.
Asked about her seamless transition into the world of table tennis, Malepa highlighted that, “It wasn’t much of a challenge, table tennis is almost similar to volleyball, so it was easy for me to blend with the sport. I had to learn about the techniques used to enable me to communicate better, analyze our game and the players."
With BTTA set to host Region 5 games from 28th June to July 3rd, 2023, Malepa believes that her experience as part of the WTT Contender Series, will help them to organize events better.
“We will be hosting Region 5 Games mid-year in June-July, as such I am also here on a bench marking exercise to see how other countries host international tournaments. My engagement in this tournament, WTT Contender
Series, is also a huge milestone for BTTA. We are looking to host the World Contender Series in the future. We want to take the local game to the world and expose our players to leading international WTT stars.”
Malepa highlighted that they are working hard on their development structures to produce elite athletes hence their interest to expose the local game to the international standards.
Botswana will be represented by three athletes in Durban who were selected based on their rankings locally. The trio includes number one female ranked, Tshepiso Rebatenne, who is also the coach of the team. The others are Tshenolo Mooketsi and India based Phetso Jack.