Stakeholder input during the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Southern Africa World Qualifiers has left a lasting legacy for sporting development and talent development in Botswana.
This was revealed by Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) President Kudzanani Motswagole after the qualifying round took place in Gaborone. The qualifiers took place at the University of Botho from June 29 to July 2, 2023. Players from hosts Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini competed in the tournament.
“The ability to organise locally has laid the foundation for future opportunities and growth in the region,” says Motswagole, adding that “the participation has helped nurture sporting talent, foster growth, and encourage participation in the community.”
Additionally, he says the networking and collaboration opportunities during the event opened the door for future community support and sponsorship partnerships. Botswana men’s and women’s teams both won bronze medals and reached the quarterfinals of the men’s and women’s singles.
“The ability to run tests during qualifying is a tool to evaluate and improve the overall performance of our athletes. Competing on familiar terrain, in front of lively crowds and under rigorous testing conditions has certainly enhanced the ability and resilience of participants,” he says.
Motswagole further points out that in addition to the benefits for the association, the nation has seen an economic impact due to increased tourism and revenue. He says the qualifications serve as a platform to showcase the region’s diverse culture, rich heritage and sporting excellence on the international stage.
The BTTA president says in the aftermath of hosting, his association will continue to leverage on the momentum gained to develop the sport and its athletes. He opines that leveraging on the relationships established during qualifying will help grow the sport, nurture talent and foster a sense of community.