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Record P25,000 prize money for table tennis

KABELO BORANABI
Record P25,000 prize money for table tennis PIC. KENENDY RAMOKONE
Local table tennis players will battle it out for a record of P25,000 prize money at the upcoming Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) Independence Grand Finale. 

The BTTA and Phoenix Assurance Botswana on Wednesday, launched a P70,000 sponsorship for the tournament that will see winners in both the men and women categories each pocketing P25,000, the largest individual prize money in table tennis. The award has been dubbed ‘Phoenix Assurance Botswana athletes life changing moment’. This would be in addition to the regular P6,000 prize money, meaning a winner could walk away with P31,000.

But there is a catch as players would need to gain 30 points or more in the semi-final stage to be eligible to compete for the big cheque. If the semi-finalists have 30 points or more then the tournament would proceed with the final match under the stated conditions, being the decider who would then pocket an enormous P31,000. In a scenario where no player has 30 points or more in the semi-final stage the prize would not be awarded. Instead, winners would receive only the P6,000.

If two players with 30 points or more are defeated in the semi-finals with only two players with less than 30 points advancing to the final, then the big prize would also not be awarded. Semi-finalists would play a round robin if only one semi-finalist has acquired 30 points to determine set up for a challenger for the five-figure prize money. 

Speaking at the launch, BTTA president, Kudzanani Motswagole said the prize has set the bar high for the tournament and urged players to raise their game. "For

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BTTA, this is a humble gesture and one of the driving forces as we move forward in sport development. In Botswana sport, we are all volunteers and when we get a sponsorship like this, it motivates the athletes and us. This comes at a time where the world moves towards an athletes-centred approach.  This P70,000 will go straight to the tournament not administration (of BTTA). This is to improve the life of our athletes and we challenge our top athletes to do more; to compete just not against opponents but against the standards set," Motswagole said.

Phoenix Assurance Botswana chief executive officer, Carlson Chiswo said sport has proven to be an essential aspect in the development of individuals and communities. He said the contribution would come in handy for the players as they are dealing with the financial impact brought by COVID-19. "Sports are critical community development. It impacts the social wellbeing of communities and creates a sense of purpose among youth. Sports create a sense of worth and transform an individual. The competitive nature of the games reinforces the sense of hard work and teamwork, which are keys to success. In sport, when you lose you have to work hard and be better next time, like a phoenix you rise from the ashes and that helps in the development of an individual," he said.

The Grand Finale would be played on September 30, 2020 at the BUAN Hall.



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