The Botswana table tennis team brought home two bronze medals in both the male and the female categories from the just-ended Africa Union Sports Commission (AUSC) Region 5 table tennis championships held in Namibia.
The men’s team led by the country’s top ranked player, Bonolo Mabote, comprised Tlotlo Kgosimore, Bakang Maloka and BISA Under-20 champion, Boago Malobela.
They finished third with nine points while Angola ended up on position two with 11 points. South Africa are the winners of the championships; winning gold with 12 points. Botswana women’s team also secured the third place with 10 points, two points behind Angola who won gold with 12 points. South Africa settled for silver in the women’s category after falling short with a point to equal Angola’s points.
Botswana women’s team was made up of Tshepiso Rebatenne, Olorato Ramagapu and Oratile Kedisaletse. The mixed doubles team of Mabote and Rebatenne lost out to South Africa in the quarterfinals. In all the events, the local team failed to proceed beyond the quarterfinal stage.
The team’s coach, Tshepo Modisane said they used the championships as a platform for youngsters, who have been performing well in the local tournaments, an international exposure. “We went there with a relatively young team. The idea was to give them international exposure. We have been working on them for the past two years and the only way to check their readiness was to take them to competitions of this magnitude,” he said.
“We did not expect that they will put that kind of performance looking at the fact it was their first international competition,” Modisane said.
“We are quite happy with the performance, we just have to guide them so that they can improve going forward.”
The team’s head of delegation in Namibia, Kudzanani Motswagole told Mmegi Sport that they would be focusing on training rather than competing in the year so as to prepare the team for Zone 6 championships to be held in Botswana in 2017.
“We wanted to gauge ourselves with this competition as to where we stand in the region,” Motswagole said. “I must say we performed exceptionally well looking at the fact that our opponents brought professional players who ply their trade in Europe.”
The championships were dominated by South Africa and Angola. South Africa won gold and bronze in the mixed doubles while Angola won silver and bronze. Angola scooped gold in both men and females doubles, beating South Africa in the finals.