Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) has resolved to withdraw from all international competitions during the year 2016 and maintain focus on developing the sport from grass roots level.
BTTA President, Lesego Master Maifala last week revealed that the association will concentrate on developing the sport at grass roots level in primary schools across Botswana. BTTA has joined hands with Botswana Primary Schools Sport Association (BOPSSA) to introduce table tennis in primary schools and familiarise younger players with the dynamics of the sport at an early age. Maifala said they have so far identified a total of 15 primary schools at which they will establish development structures.
“This year we will refrain from participating in international tournaments and concentrate on development. In 2016 our main aim will be youth development,” he said.
Maifala said BTTA’s main concern is the lack of continuity in table tennis, which has compelled them to forge a strong youth team.
“We want a youthful team that will represent the country at all youth regional and international competitions until they make it to the senior national team.”
As part of its development drive, BTTA intends to distribute table tennis equipment to its affiliates nationwide to enable them to attract youthful members. The tables were donated to BTTA by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). The 2016 development campaign will be tested at local and international events in 2017. BTTA has also resolved to intensify efforts to seek sponsorship from different stakeholders in order to keep the association’s programs running.
“Last year we managed to get sponsorship of P250, 000 from a local company. We will continue to work hard to attract more sponsors. BTTA affiliates are also encouraged to come up with fundraising initiatives that will benefit the association,” said Maifala.
He further said they managed to achieve most of their 2015 objectives; as they were able to restructure the association and implement some neglected youth programs. Meanwhile, the final round of fixtures in the BTTA Celiat Construction Premier League will be played at the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) hall today (Sunday). Boitshwarelo Butale of Smash Maniacs will defend her title after going 12 games unbeaten while Thobo Matlhatsi of BDF table tennis club leads the men’s campaign.