Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tennis likely to miss participating at Commonwealth Games

The Botswana Tennis Association looks set to miss the chance to participate at the Commonwealth Games due to be held in New Delhi, India, in October. The code may look for a wild card inclusion but the possibilities of even getting it are very remote.

So far, only Boxing, Lawn Bowling and Squash have qualified for Delhi 2010, while the Botswana National Olympic Committee is still waiting for the Botswana Athletics Association to give them a comprehensive list of athletes to be included for the Delhi games.

Information reaching Standard Sport from BNOC is that two Squash players have made the qualification for the Delhi games. It is expected that the BAA will have submitted their list of Delhi bound athletes before the Local Organising Committee (LOC) meets in early August.
Tuelo Serufho, the Chief Executive Officer of the BNOC, the BNOC is due to meet the LOC to finalise the full list of athletes due for the games by August 2.

Serufho says they are still assessing the athletes submitted by badminton to decide whether they can be taken to the games.

Of all the codes, Badminton has no set qualification standards and is entitled to send ten (10) players, five from the men and five from the ladies teams. The BNOC chief says in the interest of sport, they will have to assess whether the athletes designated by Badminton will be going to compete or to participate before they can give them the green light to go to New Delhi. Concerning tennis, the BNOC chief expressed a feeling that it may be a little too late for the code to make it due to it having no highly ranked player in the world.

“There are many highly ranked players in the Commonwealth and the draw size is only 32 for both the men and women. Countries like India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, just to mention a few, have players who are highly ranked in both ATP and WTA, so chances of Botswana even making it through wild card status are virtually impossible,” Serufho told Standard Sport.
He added that he was planning to meet with the Botswana Tennis Association to discuss how to improve the sport.

Apart from having no qualifying rankings, Botswana’s tennis hopefuls, Lame Botshoma and Phatsimo Ruele, have just returned from the African Youth Championships where they gave an uninspiring performance with Ruele crashing out in the first game.

For the past few years, tennis seems to have stagnated in growth with Botswana being in the last group in the Davies Cup.

However, the country’s hopeful representative could have been Botshoma who is currently based at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa. Should he get the wild card status, Botshoma will have to go on very intensive training ahead of the Delhi games.
Boikobo Gaolebalwe, of the Botswana Tennis Association, said that should any of the athletes make the wild card, they will have to be sent to Delhi to acclimatize at least three weeks before the tournament begins.

However, any hope of tennis players making it may not materialize as the BNOC looks set to pull the plug on the code’s participation even if it does make the wild card entry.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.