Monday, June 24, 2024

Two More Table Tennis Stars Set to Leave for India

Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) and the High Commission of India are pursuing their vision of providing more opportunities for local players.

The two have partnered to help athletes advance to higher education and sports development through scholarships. Recently, the BTTA Table Tennis Elite Scholarship and the High Commission of India under ICCR added two more players, Tshenolo Mooketsi and Tshepang Motlhamme to the number of athletes studying in India.

BTTA public relations officer (PRO) Tshegofatso Malepa says ‘India is the centre of table tennis with its level and standards including world-class facilities.’ This means athletes under scholarship will ‘have the opportunity to participate in local and international tournaments held in India.’

“Players have applied for what they are eligible for. Each academic institution has its own entry criteria so they must adhere to those criteria. The next step is to receive the letter of admission, i.e. when the scholarship is awarded based on that. Based on the number of scholarships awarded in table tennis that year BTTA has only two scholarships this year, it changes every year,” the BTTA PRO explains.

Malepa was quick to note that the scholarships are also paying off in the athletes’ sports careers. “Jack as a member of the national team, competed in World Table Tennis Contender Series in Durban this year. Kgaswe and Jack won tournaments in India,” says Malepa.  

The BTTA PRO believes the players in India, including Mooketsi will form the core of the national team. She is optimistic that the skills acquired during their stay in India will come in very handy in the national team.

Mooketsi and Motlhamme will join the list of nine athletes who have previously been awarded the scholarships. They include Phetso Jack, Oratile Kedisaletse, Kaone Moroke, Ester Mpotsang, Tshireletso Samuel, Arthur Kgaswe, Thembelihle Montshiwa, Wame Jawe and Resego Leepo.

Meanwhile BTTA player Sean Dekop is also in India even though he is self-sponsored. She says the number of athletes sent changes every year, this year it was only for two. BTTA is awaiting the International Table Tennis Federation scholarships and feedback on the awardee.

“Our athletes are doing very well in India. Unfortunately, we had financial problems that prevented us from covering the travel expenses for all our players to compete. Mooketsi who is about to leave, also played at the World series and went to the main draw which is final round of 32.  The scholarship means more results and improvement. BTTA believes that in the next financial year more players from India will come to represent the country in international tournaments organized by ITTF to improve the rankings of the country,” she says.

Motlhamme, who participated in the athletes’ leadership training has been competing and improving her skills in the league and participated in the national team selection.

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