Players are from as far afield as Pakistan and Luxembourg
More than 148 players from across the world will descend on Lobatse Sports Complex from Thursday (tomorrow) this week for the highly-anticipated Botswana International Badminton Open.
Over 70 foreign players have already arrived for Botswana Badminton Association’s historical event that will see top badminton players from Europe compete in Botswana for the first time.
The tournament will run from 24 to 27 November.
From Pakistan, India, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Egypt, Luxembourg, Uganda, Zambia, Lesotho and other countries will compete for prestigious honours in individual (singles) and team events (doubles & mixed doubles) in quest of improving their world rankings prior to next year’s world events qualifiers.
Led by Coach Oreeditse Thela, the Botswana squad comprises Tefo Kabomo, Gaone Tawana and Godknows Kethabanetswe in the men’s team while Kesego Hamu, Tessa Kabelo and Tebogo Ndzinge make up the women’s team that will compete in the singles, doubles and mixed events.
In an exclusive interview with Gazette Sports, BBA spokesperson Thobo Tshosa said they are thrilled by the interest from foreign nationals who have been arriving in Botswana since Tuesday this week.
“We have been hard at work preparing for this big event on our calendar,” he said. “The team has gone all out to make sure that everything is in place and that the event meets Badminton World Federation (BWF) standards.
“This is a very important tournament for players and officials alike, hence this massive response from players across the world. They are aware of the hectic schedule that is upon them next year in terms of world events such as the qualifiers for World Championships and the Olympics and we want to see our local athletes do their best in these championships.”
Tshosa added that it is in their interest and mandate to prove Botswana’s potential to all BWF stakeholders in order for the country to be considered for hosting more international events in future. “We have to present Botswana’s capabilities to the world by organising the best tournament ever,” he emphasised.
“This will give Botswana more opportunities to develop the sport further by hosting more international events so they can produce world-class athletes through local events. We will continue to benchmark in advanced countries like Zambia and South Africa so we fulfil the promise we made to the badminton community when they voted us into office.” added Tshosa.
Botswana’s top player Ndzinge told Gazette Sports that they are ready to face the best in the world and to obtain a podium finish in all categories that the team are featured in. “We have home-ground advantage and have to play our best without any pressure so we win medals in every category,” she said.
“We are aware that hosting comes with pressure but we are ready to put up a good fight, most importantly to improve our rankings ahead of world events next year.”
BBA recently announced their official sponsors for the event who forked out P31 000. Other entities offered sponsorships in kind such as merchandise, water and trophies.