Sunday, April 21, 2024

Table tennis goes east 

This past Sunday 24th March 2024, Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sports, Art, and Culture Society in Botswana (SACSB).

The MoU was signed by BTTA president Kudzanani Motswagole and SACSB President Li Xiaoyang during a ceremony held at Avani Resort and Casino. Present at the MoU signing was the Ambassador of China in Botswana Wang Xuefeng and the mayor of Gaborone Austin Abraham.

It is part of BTTA’s aggressive plan to further develop the sport of table tennis in the country. Of late, BTTA has been aggressive in finding organisations to partner with in an effort to build capacity and resources.

According to Motswagole, the four-year MoU comes after two months of protracted negotiations between the two parties. “As part of this memorandum of understanding, SACSB will help BTTA with both financial and technical assistance.”

BTTA is hopeful that working with SACSB will help it to develop closer ties with Chinese organizations with capacity to help them. One of these will be the Chinese business community in Botswana, who they hope will offer them a helping hand.

“As you know, China is the highest ranked table tennis nation in the world right now. Through this partnership, we are hopeful we may, where possible, get Chinese coaches to come and assist us in the country.”

“We also hope that where possible, some of our players can get opportunities to further their development in China. So, it will open for us opportunities to develop our players and to train and compete,” Motswagole explains.

The BTTA president says due to their limitations as an association, they have found it fitting to aggressively seek partners to assist them in their mandate. As such, he says they are actively searching for as many partners as they can.

BTTA already has other partnerships including one with the Indian High Commission in Botswana. Through the partnership, BTTA has already sent a number of its talented players to study and train in India.

“Already, our partnership with India is bearing fruit. We have players in India. Now, we hope we can have others going to China. This will help in the diversity of table tennis skills we have within our players in Botswana.”

“The style of play from Chinese players is different from the style of play in India. As BTTA, we want to grow the game with different playing styles. If we can find other countries to partner with us, we will therefore welcome them,” he says.

The BTTA president is optimistic the partnership with SACSB will enhance the quality of play in the country. He however says the success of the MoU will depend largely on how the two parties work towards achieving what they agreed on the MoU.

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