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Big guns miss out as table tennis selections kick-off

KABELO BORANABI
Missing out: Rebatenne failed to make the cut PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Last weekend’s table tennis selection tournament produced surprises as familiar faces failed to secure their spots in the setup.

The first of the four rounds of selection was held last weekend at the BNYC Hall as the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) starts preparations for the World Table Tennis Championships to be held in July.

Four places were up for grabs in each of the men’s and women’s categories.

The greatest upset of the day was on the women’s section, as top ranked Tshepiso Rebatenne and the men’s second best, Thobo Matlhatsi missed out. The duo has been an integral part of the national team setup for a long period.

But they failed to stamp their authority over the weekend. They both finished third in their respective groups and failed to make the cut. For BTTA president, Kudzanani Motswagole, the weekend’s results showed improvement in the levels of play.

“It is still early stages here, there are two more rounds to go but we are impressed with what we saw over the weekend. Two of the long serving national team players did not make the top four.

This shows growth, players slowly getting to the levels that we want them to be,” Motswagole said.  “We do not want dominance. It is not good to see familiar faces in

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the national team. We want our sport to be this competitive, so it’s good to have new faces in the setup. We are heading for a very competitive top eight, which is good for the sport.”  It was not smooth sailing for Tshenolo Mooketsi who sits at the top in the men’s rankings. Mooketsi had to play through an injury and finished first, while Boago Malobela came second; Bakang Maloka and Mompati Chabe were third and fourth respectively.

In the women’s section, second ranked, Boitswhwarelo Butale came third on the day, as Olorato Ramagapu came first with sixth ranked, Tshephang Kebodiwang finishing second. Oratile Kedisaletse completed the top four.

The second round of the selection will be played on February 29 while the third round is on March 15, with the final round scheduled for April 18.

Meanwhile, table tennis will head to Mochudi this weekend for the second round of the ‘War on the Table’. Mooketsi and Rebatenne are the reigning champions for War on the Table’s men and women’s sections respectively.

 

Top four players after the first round

Men: Tshenolo Mooketsi, Boago Malobela, Bakang Makola, Mompati Chabe

Women: Olorato Ramagapu, Tshephang Kebodiwang, Boitshwarelo Butale, Oratile Kedisaletse



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