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Table Tennis Team Fires Blanks At SA Championships

KABELO BORANABI
Tshepiso Rebatenne
The national table tennis team has failed to prove its mettle at the South African Table Tennis Championship held in Mangaung over the weekend.

The team failed to make it past the quarterfinal stage in the two-day tournament that ended on Saturday. The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) sent a four-member team for the championship, two athletes per gender category. The team had new faces in BDF club's Constance Kuswane who booked her place in the team alongside top ranked, Tshepiso Rebatenne. In the men's section, Boago Malobela led the team alongside Bakang Maloka who has had a splendid year on the table. Kuswane was the first to bow out of the tournament as she was knocked out of the group stages while the rest of the team reached the knockout stage. However after a promising display in the group stage, Rebatenne went down 3-1 to Lailaa Edwards while Malobela was knocked out by Badat Ismail, Maloka exited the tournament at the hands of Theo Cogill. Speaking to Monitor Sport, BTTA public relations officer Tiro Motswasele said they are impressed by the team's display despite failing to get in to a medal position. BTTA had targeted gold in the singles tournament. "We believe that the

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team did well despite failing to get a medal position. If you look at the players that we lost against, those are national team players, they in the South African team. So losing to such a caliber of players only motivates us to get better," he said.

This was the second international tournament that the BTTA competed in two years after the AUSC region 5 held last year in Lesotho. Motswasele said the team is capable of competing internationally despite limited opportunities. "It is only South Africa that gives us headaches in the southern part of Africa. We have never had problems competing in the region so I believe our players can compete with the best of the continent. The only problem is that we have not had too many international competitions but the caliber of players is at a high level," he said. BTTA is set to return to international games at the AUSC games scheduled for June 2021 in Zimbabwe. The tournament was initially set for this December but was rescheduled due to the outbreak of Covid-19.



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