Badminton empty-handed from African Champs

No breakthrough: Perekisi found the going tough in Uganda PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
No breakthrough: Perekisi found the going tough in Uganda PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

The national badminton team has failed to secure podium finishes at the just-ended All Africa Badminton Championships held in Uganda.

A four-member team was competing at the Lugogo Indoor Arena in Kampala against their African counterparts but could not bring a medal back home having registered a single win at the week-long competition. In Botswana's first senior international tournament in almost two years, top-ranked Tshepang Olekantse and Tshepo Perekisi made up the men’s team while Tebogo Ndzinge and Tessa Kabelo were on the women’s side.

They were drawn into a tough group that included Africa's second-best team, Mauritius and regional giants, South Africa for the team events last week. On the first day of the tournament last Thursday, the local team lost all their five matches against Mauritius as the pair faced off in the men's and women's doubles, mixed doubles and singles clashes of the team events section of the competition.

The barren run continued against neighbours South Africa on the second day of the tournament as Botswana bowed out of the team events. The team shifted their focus to individual events to save their tournament. It got off to a promising start as Ndzinge won her last 32 round tie against Mansard Sylvie of Reunion Islands to advance to the last 16 while Kabelo could not go past Seychelles player, Jemimah Leung For Sang. In the second round match, Ndzinge narrowly lost to Kobita Dookhee of Seychelles. In the men’s section, both Perekisi and Olekantse were knocked out of the tournament in the last 32-round losing to Egypt and Algeria respectively.

The team’s fate was already written ahead of the men, women and mixed doubles after disastrous performances in the singles. Olekantse and Perekisi paired against a South African duo in the first round and lost 21-13, 21-16. Kabelo and Ndzinge were, however, given a bye into the quarterfinals where South Africa mauled them 21-10, 21-3 on Wednesday. The team’s last hope was on Perekisi and Ndzinge in the mixed doubles against South Africa. The duo was sent packing after losing 21-4, 21-11 in the first round. The week-long championship ended yesterday and the team is expected back home tomorrow.

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