Mmegi Online :: Butale: The Queen of Ping Pong
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Butale: The Queen of Ping Pong

The only thing that stopped Botswana’s number one female tennis player, Boitshwarelo Butale from taking any sports other than what she now excels in was her tiny frame and an element of attitude.
By Teichler Rankoa Fri 19 Dec 2014, 09:10 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Butale: The Queen of Ping Pong








 Born 31 years ago in Makaleng, because of her diminutive figure Butale stayed clear of contact sports like netball, tennis and volleyball and instead chose table tennis.  It was however not before she dabbled in lawn tennis which she started playing and excelling in, it was 1993 when she was in Standard 4 at Ben Thema Primary School in Gaborone.

While still at the primary school situated cheek-by-jowl with African Mall in Gaborone’s Extension 2, and later Thebephatshwa in Kweneng District she made an effortless transition to badminton which she played until she completed Standard 7.

“I was doing well (in badminton). The problem was that the sport needs a lot of running and more power in the racket. “Despite my good performance, I could see that I still not exert myself enough. It came to a point where I wanted to drop it. Unfortunately I could not because there was no other sport I could join,” said Butale. Or so she felt, until she transited to Dithejwane Junior secondary School in Molepolole where on the day she set her eyes upon a table tennis court, it was love at first sight. “As soon as I saw table tennis court, I knew I had found the sport that suits my body and strength. I did not waste time or got confused, but registered with the table tennis club while doing Form 1.

“Because I was used to the racket from lawn tennis and badminton, it was easy for me to follow the coach’s instructions,” she said.

The more number of days she took to the table, the more her love for the sport grew and in the process she started garnering accolades even against hulking opponents with powerful shots. In no time she became one of the best players, first at Dithejwane.  And then later Molepolole and ultimately the entire Kweneng District. For three years, Butale ruled the roost as she tormented many of her opponents from other schools.

Butale did her senior secondary education at Kgari Sechele Senior Secondary School where she continued playing Ping Pong for the next two years. Like during her junior school days, the Botswana number one tennis player was never easy to defeat.

“I continued performing well, but here I could see that I was improving and my body was also growing because of serious and tough training I was introduced to by the coaches,” declared Butale.

After Kgari Sechele, Butale went to Molepolole College of Education (MCE) where she studied Design and Technology. But the studies did not quench her love for table tennis.

For the next three years she wielded her merciless racket, in the process, she caught the attention of national team selectors and soon she was key player in

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the national team.  As a result Butale represented Botswana in various tournaments, both nationally and on the international stage.

A year after completing her MCE course, the Ping Pong heroine entered the University of Botswana (UB) to study Special Education. 

At UB she did not waste time as immediately she joined the Ping Pong club, but because of her tight academic timetable she had to train alone. However, despite the odds she continued to triumph in the sport that she loves.   “There were occasions when I had no time to train because of my school timetable, but I made sure that any free minutes I get I would squeeze in my training which of course I did alone. This was because I was mindful of the fact that for one to do well or get positive results,  they have to work hard,” Butale highlighted. Currently, Butale is the number one women’s table tennis player(women) player, and she attributed the success to not just hard work, but also  love and commitment for the sport. This year she is definitely reaping the rewards of her hard work as she is a holder of the title of three big tournaments. These are the Gaborone Open,  New Horizon Open, Top 16 National tournament, and the first BTTA premier league. “I want everyone to know that this was not a miracle, but hard work,” she said modestly. Now a teacher at Patikwane Junior Secondary School in Mabeleapudi, which is far from towns, life was supposed to be difficult for her, but she is taking it all in her strides. “I am a coach at my school, so I took advantage of this and trained with my students to prepare for all the tournaments.  If I had time  I travelled to Gaborone during weekends to meet my coach Tshepo Modisane to train me. I also trained with others,” she said. The league also came in handy for Butale who said since it was played every weekend, she used the games for some serious training in preparation for next fixtures.  As a result, this has helped her win 13 games out of possible 14.

Certainly, Butale’s tough opponents are Matshediso Osi and Tshepiso Rebatenne.  “Osi is patient, when playing against her, you must be careful because she can force you to commit many mistakes, while Rebatenne is a tough opponent because she trains very hard,” she said.

She stated that her strength laid in being an all rounder who can attack, defend and unleash a mean forehand which she used most of the time to score points to win the games.

 “I am good at with my forehand, and use it most of the time to beat my opponents,” she disclosed.

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