The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA)’s Senior National Team left for Tokyo, Japan on Monday afternoon for the World Championships which had already started the same day and arrived on Tuesday during the day.
The championships which Botswana is attending for the first time in its history commenced on the 27th April and will conclude 7th May 2014.
The team, which was supposed to have been in camp for the whole week preparing for the World Championships, was initially scheduled to leave on Saturday for its debut ranking world competition, with over 200 other teams (107 female and 125 male).
The BTTA has been hit by a shortage of funds. “We are struggling to raise enough money to fly the whole team which costs approximately P140 000,” Thebe Selema, BTTA President said.
“Fortunately the players’ hospitality for the duration of the tournament has been taken care of by the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) and we had already procured hospitality funds for the three officials.”
He further outlined that they were hoping to access preparation funds for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from the BNOC (Botswana National Olympic Committee), as the tournament will be used as a qualifier for the games.
Selema, who could not hide his frustration, said the whole situation affects their preparations badly because for them to end up in Glasgow they need to have qualified, and failure to attend qualifiers would automatically hinder their chances of participation.
“We need to gauge our level of preparedness at such games and hope to establish links with other countries.
Who knows, maybe one will adopt us and send proper coaches, and maybe their players can tour Botswana,” he said.
The team comprises the following officials and players, Team Manager: Mr Kudzanani Motswagole, Team Coaches: Mr Sai Maribe and Tshepo Modisane, Male Players: Joseph Kgatlampane (Captain), Thobo Matlhtsi and Kola Modisathebe.