The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) Grand Finale will reach its climax over the Independence Day holiday, with mouth-watering match-ups.
The prize dubbed the ‘Life Changing Award’ is sponsored by Phoenix Assurance Group, and it is the biggest ever for local individual sports. On top of the whooping prize, there is the regular P6,000 first prize cash, meaning players can pocket up to P31,000. For the players to win the P25,000 prize, they will need to have attained 30 points ahead of the semi-finals matches. If more than one player reaches the semi-final phase on 30 points, those players will have to play a deciding tie to win the prize.
However, if no player attains the required 30 points by the semi-finals the coveted prize will be forfeited. The country’s top-ranked woman, Tshepiso Rebatenne of Nhabe Table Tennis Club will be eyeing to bag the prize for the second year running. She pocketed the cash prize last year, beating long-term rival, Boitshwarelo Butale of Smash Maniacs in the final. Rebatenne remains the only player to win the prize and has been in a good run of form in the few tournaments leading to the Grand Finale.
The 34-year-old comes into the finale on the back of a historic moment when she won a bronze medal at South Africa Regional Championship just a week ago. She has three tournament wins coming into this finale. She will, however, be wary of her rival, Butale. Despite missing several tournaments, the veteran can cause an upset any day on the table. She emerged victorious in the last tournament she took part in, in August. Butale and Rebatenne are outright favourites but there are upcoming stars such as Game Kebodiwang. The youngster bagged the round played in March and will be looking to go an inch further. Also in the picture is perennial semi-finalist, Olorato Ramagapu. The men’s section looks a tighter affair.
In 2020, the country male paddlers failed to win the P25,000 prize. Last year’s tournament winner, Boago Malobela will hope to produce an up to par performance to land the biggest prize. He is up against a hungry pack that includes top-ranked Bakang Maloka, Sean Dekop, and Tshenolo Mooketsi who is back to winning ways after clinching the BOTTESSA Open a fortnight ago. The quartet has been miles ahead of their rivals and it would be interesting to see if one would manage to reach the required 30 points in the two days.