The curtain falls on the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) Independence Finale over the long weekend.
After five mouth-watering tournaments, table tennis players will battle it out for the P2,500 ultimate prize in the Grand Finale at St. Joseph’s College.
The two-day tournament takes place on Sunday and Monday. The racket will be rattled hard as the competition is wide open for the title. Top ranked, Tshenolo Mooketsi of BDF Club is regarded as the front-runner in the men’s section.
He has won two of the five rounds in the competition. He is also level with Masa Lesole of Smash Lesole. The duo is joined by Boago Malobela in the fight of the King of Ping Pong title. Malobela, a former number one, won once and reached every semi-final stage in each round.
As the youthful trio gear up, veteran Thobo Matlhatsi cannot be counted out in what promises to be a very tight finale.
In the women’s section, it would not be smooth sailing for second ranked, Boitshwarelo ‘Bizo’ Butale. Despite her impressive form in the run up to the finale, Butale faces stern competition for the top prize from number one ranked, Tshepiso Rebatenne.
‘Bizo’ has three wins in the last five round of the road to Finale. Speaking to Mmegi Sport, this week Butale bemoaned lack of fitness while admitting pressure on her side.
“I have been relying on these games to get some training. Despite winning most rounds I do not have proper training. I do a lot of physical training than working more with the ball. I will be under pressure to win it; I am the person to beat because I won the previous competitions,” she said.
“But looking at my opponents they have proper training so they will be going out there for some sort of revenge. Surely they are preparing looking at how I play, how I beat them in the past; so the pressure is on my side.” Butale highlighted Rebatenne and third placed, Oratile Kedisaletse as her major threat.
“These are two players who have given me a run for my money. We always have a balanced competition between us. You can see that the standards of the game have grown. It is just that we do not get more international tournaments so we can test ourselves against other countries,” she said. The runners up in the singles will walk away with P1,500 while third placed will pocket P800.
Road to grand finale round winners
Round 1 - Boago Malobela
Round 2 - Tshenolo Mooketsi
Round 3 - Masa Lesole
Round 4 - Tshenolo Mooketsi
Round 5 - Masa Lesole
Round 1 - Tshepiso Rebatenne
Round 2 - Tshepiso Rebatenne
Round 3 - Boitshwarelo Butale
Round 4 - Boitshwarelo Butale
Round 5 - Boitshwarelo Butale