Sport in Botswana may be suspended, but outside the field of play, some associations are making great gains. Last week, Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) brought good tidings to some of its athletes. Through the help of the India High Commissioner in Botswana, the BTTA secured full time employment in the Diamond Polishing Industry for five athletes.
The securing of jobs for athletes marked a significant milestone for the BTTA, which has been making strides amid the ongoing pandemic.
For the association, they stand with pride with the little development yet meaningful as the good news came at a stage when employment of any nature is rare to find.
BTTA public relations officer, Tiro Motswasele, says the acquisition of jobs pointed to the very fruitful and worthwhile relationship they have with India.
“The Indian High Commissioner often gives us scholarships, but this time around they extended their helping hand and acquired these jobs for our athletes,” he explained.
“A lot had to be considered before anyone could be given a job. We requested that all our affiliated clubs each send two names of deserving athletes. The athletes we wanted were the ones who finished form 3 and form 5, their pass mark was not required,” Motswasele highlighted.
However, their backgrounds were also considered; pointing out that many depended on table tennis for a living while others helped their parents through what sport gave them. Because of this, the nature of their backgrounds was of importance.
“Poverty is real and we are living through it. Athletes too suffer from it as it does not select who to befall on. As a result of this, a thorough introspection of the background of the list of athletes sent was made. We also considered that our equipment is very expensive and it is not sold in Botswana, we also wanted to ensure that the ones awarded this job could afford this equipment,” he said.
The athletes who have received this generous gift are Agang Molefe, Tshephang Kebodiwang, Fela Faith Mashugwa, Thabang Seloka and Pako Mooketsi, two out of the five being ladies.
Motswasele said the BTTA will continue working hard to help athletes. He said he is hopeful that they will acquire scholarships for others while waiting for another opportunity.
“We wish to go to other companies to try and get assistance for other athletes. While we are still in the planning phase, we are hopeful that we will send more athletes to India for education,” Motswasele explained.
He said at the beginning of this year, the association managed to send one athlete, Pheto Jack to study at Delhi Technological University on a four-year scholarship program.
While corona virus is wiping out residents of New Delhi in India, Motswasele noted that Jack is well and safe even though living in a city under siege.
“We have assigned someone who constantly checks on Jack and gives us feedback on his well-being and safety; but for now, he is safe and corona free,” he concluded.