Table tennis youngsters gets national team nod

Tshepo Kehimile

Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA), held its third round of the national team selection matches where young players impressed and made the cut to the final squad which is expected to compete at the July 2020 Region 5 Games in Zimbabwe.

On the male section, an impressive 17 year old Sean Dekop of Nhabe Table Tennis Club won five of his seven matches, nudging Tshenolo Mooketsi, 21, on head to head count after defeating him in their mouth-watering tie.

This was enough for the two talented players to get the nod to represent the country at the upcoming Region 5 Games.

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On the ladies’ side it was the duo of Olorato Ramagapu and Tshepiso Rebatenne who made the cut, leaving only two spots to be filled.

In an interview with Voice Sport this week, Mooketsi said the matches were really hard for him, “It was not an easy route to the national team. I faced seven tough opponents losing two matches in the process,” he said.

“I came back strong to win four games in a row, thanks to the motivation I got from my coaches who kept telling me that I could do it,” said the BDF Table Tennis Club player.

Voice Sport also caught up with the man of the moment, Dekop who said defeating one of the best table tennis players in Mooketsi was a big achievement for him, “I’m really happy to have finally made it to the senior national team and doing it in style as I defeated the number one ranked player along the way,” said a beaming Dekop.

“I however won’t be carried away by this victory. It’s still a learning curve, and I will not be big-headed but will focus on learning,” Dekop said.

With just two spots remaining, competition is expected to intensify in the fourth and final round of the selection matches, with more veteran players hoping to make the cut.

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Smash Maniacs Table Tennis Club player and one of Botswana’s most decorated athlete Boitshwarelo Butale, 37, is still hopeful of making it into the squad.

“I’d be happy if I can be one of the players in the national team but if I don’t, the young girls such as Oratile Kedisaletse and Game Kebodiwang just to mention a few can do the job because they have been impressive, and the future is bright for the sport,” she said.

Meanwhile, the young Oratile Kedisaletse,20, from Nhabe Table Tennis Club said she is aware of the challenge she’ll be up against in the final round.

“I know what to expect from the likes of Butale and others but I believe I will proceed to the national team. I’ve been working really hard,” said the confident youngster.

Kedisaletse and others’s dreams to make the national team will however have to wait a little longer as BTTA has suspended all their sporting activities in an effort to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

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