Local table tennis top seeds found the going tough this past weekend as they failed to reach the finals of the Botswana Chinese tournament.
The tournament, which is a collaboration between the BTTA and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Botswana (BCGCC), pitted elite local table tennis players against Chinese nationals residing in Botswana. Eleventh seeded Tshepo Modisane of Smash Maniacs Table Tennis Club, is the new champion following men’s defending champion, Bonolo Mabote’s failure to defend his championship after crashing out in the last 16 stage. None of local top eight seeded players made it to the finals, making McDonald Qalinge the best performer of the top seeds as he came third. To win the championship, Modisane, defeated tenth seeded Boipelo Pitsonyane of BDF 3 ÔÇô 2. It was however a different story in the women’s category as defending women’s champion Boitshwarelo Butale managed to defend the title she won in the past year. Butale defeated Tshepiso Rebatenne to win the ladies category while Tshegofatso Moatshe clinched the third position.
Despite coming second best in the singles, Pitsonyane had a good tournament as he partnered with his fellow BDF teammate Thobo Matlhatsi to win the men’s doubles title before his partnership with Rebatenne earned him third position in the mixed doubles category. Women’s champion, Butale, also had a brilliant tournament as her partnership with Rebatenne came third in the women’s doubles. Butale then had another stint in the winners’ podium as her partnership with Tiro Motswasele won the mixed doubles category.
In the team category, BTTA teams had a good day as they swept all but one top three positions in the tournament. The local lads swept aside their Chinese competitors as they clinched all the top three men’s team category. Botswana got position one and two in the women’s team category while the BCGCC ladies team A came third.
Meanwhile, BTTA tournament director Kudzanani Motswagole has hailed the tournament as very successful. Speaking in an interview, Motswagole said the quality of play and the organisation of the tournament eclipsed that of the past competition.
“Despite having to start late due to electricity failure in the morning, which delayed the proceedings, everything went as planned. We had a very good tournament that was full of upsets,” Motswagole said.
He says the tournament, which is a season’s opener will keep players sharp ahead of the official BTTA tournaments which are expected to start on March 25.
Apart from giving players match fitness ahead of the resumption of the BTTA calendar, Motswagole says it also gave BTTA a chance to sit down with the local Chinese residents to share with them challenges faced by BTTA. He says they are also trying to find ways to partner with the Chinese to better develop the sport of table tennis in the country.