Rule change for ping-pong's biggest prize

Back to the board: Table tennis players will fight it out for the biggest purse  PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Back to the board: Table tennis players will fight it out for the biggest purse PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

Table tennis players in the country will once again battle for the biggest individual prize money in the sport, a whooping P25,000, at the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) Independence Grand Finale.

However, the BTTA has said it is working on amending the criteria for the prize dubbed ‘The life-changing award’. The BTTA and Phoenix Assurance Botswana, last year launched an annual P70,000 sponsorship for the tournament that will see winners in both the men and women categories each pocketing P25,000, the largest individual prize money in table tennis.

In the first instalment, players needed to gain 30 points or more in the semi-final stage to be eligible to compete for the big cheque. If the semi-finalists have 30 points or more then the tournament will proceed with the final match under the stated conditions, being the decider who would then pocket the enormous P31,000 that includes the P6,000 tournament winners’ prize.

In a scenario where no player has 30 points or more in the semi-final stage, the prize will not be awarded. Instead, winners were to receive the P6,000 prize only. Speaking to Mmegi Sport, BTTA public relations officer, Tiro Motswasele said the association is drafting new criteria for 'The life-changing award'.


He said this is an effort to ensure fair competition and cast out any potential for match-fixing. “We are in the process of making some amendments to the criteria used to win the award. We will announce once we have completed [them] but the players will play once for the life-changing award. We are working on setting up a (tournament) evaluation committee.

The committee will be responsible for ensuring that the prize is won fairly and curb any form of match-fixing. You should remember that last year, the award was only won in the women’s tournament but [not] in the men’s,” Motswasele said. In 2020, top-ranked Tshepiso Rebatenne made history as she became the first ever player to bag the award, going home with a whooping P31,000.

Despite his triumph in the men’s section, Bakang Maloka missed out on the enormous prize, as he and the rest of the competitors did not make the 30 points cut by the semi-final stage.

The BTTA Independence Grand Finale will be played from September 30 to October 1, 2021, at the BUAN Hall. This weekend, tertiary students will battle it out in the BOTESSA Open tournament to be held in BUAN Hall.

The winners will walk away with P2,000 prize money plus a P300 food hamper. The runner-ups take home P1,000, while semi-finalist pocket P700.

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