Table tennis tourney ignites bitter rivalries

Bonolo Mabote
Bonolo Mabote

Botswana’s top ranked table tennis players will once again battle it out during the Independence Cup at the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) hall this weekend. The number one ranked player in the men’s section, Bonolo Mabote, is confident he will walk away victorious on the day.

The player, who is fresh from the All Africa Games (AAG), said the experience he got from Congo Brazaville will help him succeed in the competition. “I played against the continent’s best players and I can say that the experience has helped me develop my game,” he said.

Bonolo said despite his top ranking, he is not under pressure.

“I am a bit composed. I have played against and beat all these players so I don’t see anyone giving me any troubles on the day,” said a confident Mabote. He has been dominating the local scene for a while and his recent victory came at the Kanye Open held last month.

Third ranked player, Kennete Santutu, said he would be out for revenge. Santutu went into the Kanye Open as the second ranked player but lost to Thobo Matlhatsi in the semi finals, which saw him slip to third in the rankings.

“I want to regain second spot. I lost in the semi finals because I sat back a little bit during the match. So I won’t make that mistake again. I realised that whoever constantly attacks, wins,” said the Nhabe table tennis player. Matlhatsi, of BDF Club, said he is wary of the threat posed by Mabote and Santutu.

“I am prepared for the tournament. I believe that if I am mentally and physically fit on the day then I won’t have any problems,” he said. The number two seed lost to Mabote in the Kanye Open final.

Nhabe club’s Tshepiso Rebatenne will have to sweat it off with the likes of Game Kebodiwang and Namibo Mbulawa in the women’s section. Rebatenne has been dominating since her closest rival Matshidiso Osi fell to second in the ratings. The two-day tournament has also attracted players from South Africa.

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