Table Tennis Stars Venture into Small Businesses After Winning Big

Gazette Reporter

Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) stars, Tshepiso Rebatenne and Bakang Maloka are keen on investment and business after winning big at the recent BTTA Independence Grand Finale tournament sponsored by Phoenix Assurance. The duo dominated the women and men’s singles draw that had over 30 players taking part in each category to emerge champions of the highly organised tournament played in Gaborone on Independence Day.
The winners walked away with a total of P31,000.00 prize money each for winning the singles categories in a highly contested annual tournament within the BTTA calendar. The winner’s prize money in each category was P6,000.00 plus P25,000.00 as a life changing award for both champions. This was Rebatenne’s second time winning the prize following her brilliant performance at the inaugural event in 2020 and Maloka won it for the first time this year.
In an interview with Gazette Sport recently, Rebatenne said she decided to invest and venture into a small business with the money she won because she believes that Covid-19 was an eye opener for her especially during the time when sport activities were suspended in the country. “I have learned the hard way from covid-19 struggles especially when it was very dry for us athletes who mostly rely on tournament prize monies for survival and to make a living. It was hard because there were no sport activities across the country and we were not making any money like we used to before the pandemic, so I found it fit to invest my money and start a small business that can sustain me and my daughter even during dry period. I am hoping for more tournaments like these in sport where players win big monies that can better their standard of living and sustain them even when they retire,” she said.
For his part Maloka said he has already ventured into a small stock business which he believes has good return on investment and can rescue him whenever he wants to buy new sport equipment and attend international competitions without any struggles. “I had long wanted to be a farmer and today I am living my dream, sport can really change someone’s life positively like it did for me. This was the first time ever I have won such a big amount in table tennis. I want to purchase goats and cattle so I can now put my business into life, I am going to start small and grow bigger with time so I can also be able to advance my table tennis career. I do not want to struggle anymore when it comes to my sport equipment and registering for regional and international tournaments because of lack of money hence my decision to invest in business,” said the youthful ping pong genius.
The sports personalities and athletes were amongst the groups that where hardly hit by the covid-19 pandemic which saw the sports sector close for the longest time in the government’s efforts to curb the spread of covid-19.