Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) is set to begin their Semi-Professional transformation process this year when they host their first tournament of the season under the new Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Covid-19 guidelines this weekend in Gaborone.
This was inspired by their main tournaments sponsor, Phoenix Assurance’s consistency in paying players competitive prize monies in every tournament. The highest prize money they are awarding is P3000.00 each for winners in both (men and women) section. The association intends to tackle the semi-professional aspect by making sure that players earn money that is equivalent to minimum or average wages of ordinary workers in formal or informal sector.
BTTA President Kudzanani Motswagole said their effort is aligned by the country’s aspirations and ambition to turn sport professional in all aspects, which they think it should begin with players welfare hence their move to increase players prize monies in tournaments.
“We are happy that we have a sponsor that have been with us through it all and it has also given athletes hope and desire to continue playing Table Tennis. These prize monies make a huge impact in players lives on and off the field and we hope to continue trying hard to improve the value depending on the availability of the resources.” Motswagole said.
He further said despite the Covid-19 challenges that have affected the expenditure they are still compelled to improve the standard of the game in order to attract more revenue from other potential stakeholders.
“We have been also affected by Covid-19 complications just like everyone, but it is in us to adapt to the new normal and make sure that we deliver to our best no matter what. We have noticed a massive improvement in the standard of play of our players and we believe that if they carry on with this momentum, they will be able to attract more attention and sponsors. They also intend to have competitive categories such as Premier division and First Division in order to improve competitiveness amongst players.” He added.
BBTA will return to the playing field this weekend with their much anticipated Top 16 tournament which will be aired on Television on Saturday. The tournament will be contested by top 16 players in each category (Men and Women) as per the current rankings. The winner’s prize money will be as follows; P3000.00 for champions, P1500.00 for runners up and P750.00 for semi-finalists. All top 16 competing players from both categories will also walk away with P230.00 food hampers voucher courtesy of Mamlathan and Associates.
On her part the 2nd seed Boitswharelo Butale said she has been hard at training with her club, Smash Maniacs Table Tennis Club and they are cognizant of the fact that the first tournament of the year is never easy.
“The first tournament of the year requires more training because it can determine one’s performance through out the year and I would say we are more than ready for the challenge.” She explained.
Fan’Mo Sports Agency