The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) has expressed joy after South Africa won the rights to host the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships.
Durban was this week confirmed as the host city for the 2023 spectacle, seeing off a rival bid from the German city of Düsseldorf.
Durban will become the second African city to host the event after it enjoyed a victory commanding 90 votes to 39 over its German opponent.
The 2023 World Table Tennis Championships will also be the first to take place in Africa since Cairo played host in 1939.
The BTTA had offered neighbourly support to the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB) in a bid to bring the championships to Africa.
Speaking to Mmegi Sport this week BTTA president, Kudzanani Motswagole said they were yet to meet their South African counterparts.
However, he revealed the two associations have a good working relationship and Botswana is set to benefit.
“We are very excited about South Africa winning the hosting rights. If we look at South Africa, we are not only neighbours through borders but we are also neighbours by trade,” he said.
“So we are hoping to extend the same in table tennis. As a region we pushed hard for this bid, I sit on the region board as technical and competitions director. So this is an
Motswagole added Botswana’s opportunity comes from sport tourism and he hopes that the championship would help grow the popularity of the sport locally.
“We have said this before that if Durban wins this will help improve our tourism sector. We have direct flights from Durban to our tourism destinations in Kasane and Maun. So we will use this opportunity with relevant stakeholders to help push our tourism during the games,” Motswagole said.
“The local people also stand a chance to go and watch the games in Durban. We will help promote the championships here and also try to grow the popularity of table tennis in Botswana.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime, looking that it has been years since the championship came to Africa and we have been blessed that it is this close to Botswana. Our people should use this opportunity and see what table tennis is like on an international platform.”
The BTTA also hopes to see some of the local administrators take part in the tournament’s organising teams in a bid to upskill the locals.