The modest but improved showing relegates Botswana’s chances of participation in the Continental Hopes Week and Challenge to the evaluation process that determines the best two players in each by category (BLURB)
The Botswana Table Tennis U-11 national team has returned home after a moderate yet improved showing at the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Southern Africa Hopes Week & Challenge that was held in Windhoek, Namibia.
The week-long competition saw the team clinch three medals, which is quite a significant achievement for the young athletes.
Reneilwe Lekorwe emerged the team’s top performer, securing a silver medal in a fiercely contested challenge in the boys’ section. Tinashe Dzvaka also displayed exceptional skills, earning a bronze in the boys’ category.
On the girls’ side, Boitlamo Nkele claimed a bronze medal after securing the third position overall while Tshegofatso Buisanang finished in fifth place.
In a telephone interview with Gazette Sports, the spokesperson for Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA), Tshegofatso Malepa, expressed delight in the team’s performance.
“We are very happy with the results and how the players performed, considering that it was their first international that was used as a qualifying stage for the Continental Hopes Week & Challenge,” she said.
Confirmation of qualification
However, Malepa noted that confirmation of qualification for the Botswana players for the continental competition hinges on the evaluation process in that gold medalists automatically qualify followed by the best two evaluated players in each category.
“Because Botswana did not secure gold medals, we hope to qualify through the best-evaluated players’ procedure,” she explained.
Reflecting on the team’s overall performance, Malepa emphasised the potential within Botswana’s development side. “If we invest more, we can have a strong national team that can bring in results in 10 years,” she said.
Meanwhile, according to the ITTF website, the Hopes Programme is the ITTF High Performance and Development Department’s talent identification system that unites players and coaches from across the globe.
It is credited for being the building block of the ITTF High Performance pathway, which targets the global reach and overall growth of table tennis.