FRANCISTOWN: Hosts, Francistown Bowls Club are the champions of the 46th national competition hosted in the second city last week. The competition began May 13 and ended on Sunday.
The Botswana Bowling Association (BBA) competition drew 85 competitors from five bowling clubs from across the country. With 57 points, Francistown emerged as the victors, ahead of Gaborone who finished in second position on 53 points. Jwaneng moved to third place with 44 points, surpassing Orapa which dropped to the fourth place with 43 points.
Orapa were the defending champions but found the going tough this year. Selebi-Phikwe finished last in the competition after scoring 37 points. Baven Balendra from Francistown club and Gaborone's Lesego Motladiile were named the men's and women's players of the tournament, respectively.
Motladiile and Balendra both won gold in the men's and women's singles events. Orapa were the winners of the women's fours competition, while Francistown A men's team made history by winning gold, having last won the Fours in 1989. Over the years, the BBA has been unable to go without a Trips trophy, and this year, Gaborone and Selebi-Phikwe won the trophy for the men's and women's teams, respectively. Francistown A team earned gold in the women's pairs event, and Gaborone B took first place in the men's division.
In an interview, the 25-year-old Motladiile expressed her joy after winning the tournament's female player of the year award. She said it was her first national ladies singles victory in 14 years of bowling. Motladiile was thrilled to be a member of the team that would represent Botswana at the African States Tournament in Namibia in June. Male event champion, Balendra was also pleased with his victory. "Because the opposition was so difficult, I lost three complete games during the tournament," he said.
BAA president Kitso Robert said the tournament was extremely competitive while also encouraging excellent sportsmanship. Robert said the next BBA Nationals will be held in Jwaneng club in 2024. He urged the club to prepare their greens for the tournament well in time.