- Receives relevant award from ITF
Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) has the Best Development Programmes in Southern Africa and received an eponymously styled award by the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT)/International Tennis Federation (ITF) at a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya over the weekend.
An elated BTA president, Oaitse Thipe, subsequently told Gazette Sports that the accolade did not come as a surprise, given the organisation’s steadfast commitment to nurturing emerging talent.
Despite the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, BTA implemented its development initiatives, particularly through execution of the JTI programme at the national tennis centre in Gaborone to increase accessibility of the sport by school children.
“We have worked tirelessly to decentralise tennis from major urban centres like Gaborone and Francistown, reaching out to communities in various villages across Botswana through an extensive expansion of the JTI programme,” he noted.
Under his leadership, BTA has achieved considerable progress in key performance indicators, with a significant surge in the number of young players participating in development sessions across the country.
Thipe highlighted a staggering 231 percent increase in the total number of unique players from 2022 to 2023, currently standing at 4,130, along with a 26 percent rise in entries for Tennis10s competitions, demonstrating the association’s focus on fostering grassroots talent development.
Thipe also underscored BTA’s efforts to ensure a seamless transition of players from the JTI programme to national teams, saying it points to a comprehensive and effective developmental pathway.
He emphasised the pivotal role of a fulltime coach at Maun Tennis Club who actively introduces tennis in public schools and organises tennis festivals.
In collaboration with partners like ITF, BTA prioritises continuous education for coaches, parents and the communities.
“We owe this achievement to the collective efforts of our stakeholders, including parents, clubs, the International Tennis Federation, CAT, and our esteemed sponsors,” Thipe said.
He underlined the importance of a collaborative and supportive network in the success of BTA’s development programmes, which he described as the cornerstone of the organisation’s existence.