The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) will bring its season to a close in style this coming weekend when they host the National Top 16 Championships as well as the Media Cup Finals.
The tournament, which is the last one in the BTTA calendar of events, pits the country’s top 16 rated players, in both men and ladies categories, against each other in what is seen as the most exciting tournament of the BTTA calendar year.
Speaking in an interview, BTTA Executive Committee member, Tiro Motswasele said only players who performed well and amassed a lot of points over the course of this calendar year are invited to the tournament. On how the tournament will be played, Motswasele said they will use differing play formats, saying that different formats will be employed for the singles’ tournaments and the doubles’ tournaments.
“The sixteen players invited to play in the tournament will be divided into four groups in the preliminary round. They will then play in a round robin system with the best two players in each group advancing to the quarterfinals where they will play in a knockout format,” Motswasele explained.
He says the top four players will then advance to the semi final stage where they will play another knockout to decide who will play in the finals.
Very fierce competition will be expected in the men’s singles tournament, which boasts, among others, the country’s current number one rated player, Dafrien Goppani, Bonolo Mabote, Rorisang Raesima, as well as the hard hitting Joseph Kgatlampane.
The quartet has had a closely contested season this year with only small margins separating them at the top of the local rankings. In the ladies’ singles category, all eyes will be on the likes of the current leading lady, Boitshwarelo Butale as well as her fellow national team teammates Matshidiso Osi, Tshepiso Rebatenne and Follah Leero.
Unlike in the men’s category where competition has been fierce, Butale has been very dominant in this category and it is everyone’s guess as to who can stop her. Concerning the doubles tournaments, Tiro said they will be played in a knockout format.
The annual tournament, which is in its fourth year of existence, will be played at St Joseph’s College. Unlike in the past two years which saw the tournament go without any sponsors, Motswasele says for this year’s fourth edition, the BTTA has solicited sponsorship valued at around P17┬á000 from various companies and individuals.
According to Motswasele, all the sponsorship money sourced for the tournament will be channelled to the players’ prizes. Winners for both the men and women’s singles will walk away with gold medals and P1┬á500 in cash while the runners up and semi-finalists will get medals plus P1000 and P500 respectively.
In the doubles category, winners will get P1000 while the runners up and semi-finalists will get P600 and P300, respectively.