- To host Africa Youth and Commonwealth Youth Championships
- Official in Windhoek for IFFT Gender Programme
- Youth team also in Windhoek for regional youth players programme
Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) has emerged as a rising force in the sporting arena, orchestrating a series of noteworthy events that underscore its commitment to development of table tennis in the country.
International Prestige in the Offing:
Recognised for its prowess in hosting major events, the organisation has received approval from the International Table Tennis Federation-Africa (ITTF-Africa) to host the Africa Youth Championships in Botswana from July 15 to 21, 2024. Following this, the Commonwealth Youth Championships is slated to take place, focusing on players under the ages of 15 and 19, respectively.
Tshegofatso Malepa, the spokesperson for BTTA, shared the significance of this development, stating, “This is a significant development for BTTA and a testament to its ongoing commitment to the development of table tennis at the grassroots level. By focusing on nurturing young talent, BTTA aims to strengthen the national team, known as Diteemane, in the long run.”
The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) has also granted permission, recognizing BTTA’s successful track record in hosting events of this magnitude. Malepa emphasized that hosting such prestigious tournaments would provide invaluable exposure and competition opportunities for young table tennis players, fostering the growth of the sport within the country.
Gender Empowerment in Table Tennis:
In a parallel initiative, Player Coach Boitshwarelo Butale is currently participating in the Gender My Strength ITTF program in Windhoek, Namibia. This program, running concurrently with the 2023 ITTF Southern Africa Hopes and Challenge Week, aims to enhance and advance women’s participation in table tennis.
Malepa highlighted the program’s focus on empowering female coaches, providing them with essential skills to improve their leadership, management, and coaching abilities. Butale, along with other participants, is benefiting from practical experiences and learning opportunities facilitated by top-level experts in coaching.
Diteemane U11 Making Waves:
Meanwhile, the Diteemane U11 team, guided by BTTA Development Coordinator and Coach Godirileone Bagwasi, is currently in Windhoek, Namibia, for the 2023 ITTF Southern Africa Hopes Week and Challenge. Comprising talented players such as Reneilwe Lekorwe, Tinashe Dzvaka, Tshegofatso Buisanang, and Boitlamo Nkele, the team is set to compete against counterparts from Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.
Malepa emphasized the enriching experience for these young athletes, stating, “Participating in such international competitions not only exposes young athletes to a higher level of competition but also provides valuable learning experiences that contribute to their overall development in the sport of table tennis.”
As the team wraps up its stay on December 2, 2023, the exposure gained from this international competition will undoubtedly contribute to their preparation for the Africa Youth and Commonwealth Youth Championships scheduled to be hosted in Botswana next year.