Sparks are expected to fly when local table tennis exponents meet in the inaugural Senior and Junior open championships at the end of this month. The two-day event, billed for the Special Support Group (SSG) Hall, is expected to be graced by clubs and schools from across the country.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, the event manager, Rorisang Raesima, said it is expected that the cr├¿me of local table tennis talent will be at the tournament.
Raesima says for the senior championships category, they expect at least 60 participants, forty men and twenty ladies.
As for the juniors, 80 participants, 50 boys and 30 girls, are expected to grace the occasion.
“At the moment, we do not have any sponsor but negotiations are ongoing and we are hopeful we will get a sponsor before the tournament starts,” he said.
The event manager said he is optimistic they will host a successful tournament, adding that lack of sponsorship has never affected the attendance of their games by players.
Raesima further said the tournament will be guided by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rules and, as such, all matches will be officiated by the ITTF international umpires and Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) National Umpires.
He said teams from school associations as well as Paralympic Associations of Botswana (PASSOBO) and Special Olympics have been invited to take part.
On whether it is the first championships open to all, Raesima said they have always had an open policy, only that some associations have not been forth coming.
“These associations have told us that we have not sent invitations to them and, as such, would not allow their players to participate in the games. This time around, we have consulted them and we are expecting their players to take part,” he informed Standard Sport.
Concerning the actual games, Raesima says winners of the championships will be awarded prizes and medals. He says the winners of the senior championships will, on top of the medals, get prize monies while the juniors will be given player equipment instead of cash prizes.
The first day of the games will be played on a round robin system, with those accumulating more points making it into the knock out stages on the second day.