Pakistan, India, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Egypt, Luxembourg, Uganda, Zambia and Lesotho are among countries that will compete in individual and team events
The highly-anticipated Botswana International Badminton Open has attracted a total of 148 players from across the world to contest a tournament billed for Lobatse from the 24 to 27 November.
The players are from Pakistan, India, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Egypt, Luxembourg, Uganda, Zambia and Lesotho among countries that will compete in individual and team events.
This will be the first major tournament under the Botswana Badminton Association (BBA)’s newly elected committee that is led by Moses Macheke after internal bickering rendered badminton inactive.
Botswana’s 72 strong squad
Botswana will have 72 players in the tournament, and has registered 60 players in men’s singles, 34 for women’s singles, 20 for men’s doubles, 11 for women’s doubles and 22 mixed doubles.
National team coach, Oreeditse Thela recently announced a provisional squad of local players that include Tefo Kabomo, Gaone Tawana and Godknows Kethabanetswe in the men’s team while Kesego Hamu, Tessa Kabelo and Tebogo Ndzinge headline the women’s team that will compete in the singles, doubles and mixed events.
Thela, who is currently in Malaysia for coaches’ training course, told the Gazette Sports that he has confidence in the squad and expects only the best performance from it. “We have assembled a very strong team that has what it takes to win titles,” he said in an interview.
“They have been tried and tested in a series of local and regional tournaments that we took part in this year. We have also unearthed new talent that is a marvel to watch. We are going to give them a chance to play at the biggest level. Our main target is to surpass the medals tally of three that we got at last year’s edition.”
Five tournaments already
The new committee has hosted more than five tournaments since it assumed office last May. The Botswana International Open will also be used as a preparatory tournament ahead of next year’s hectic schedule of continental and international events that include world championships and Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers.
According to BBA spokesperson, Thobo Tshosa, preparations for the open are on the right track. “We are putting extra efforts in preparing for this event that must match standards of the Badminton World Federation because it is internationally sanctioned,” he said. We are really hard at work and it is going to be a very successful event.”