South Africa to defend AACT title in Botswana

The South African team of Alana van Greuning, Kim Williams and Lejan Lewthwaite (pictured) was one of 21 teams to arrive in Gaberone, Botswana today ahead of the All Africa Challenge Trophy.

This prestigious biennial amateur women’s team event is to be played at Phakalane Golf Club during the coming week and followed by the Botswana Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship at Gaberone Golf Club on 9 and 10 June. Bertine Strauss will join the team to compete in the Botswana Open. The team is being managed by WGSA President Cynthia Rayner.

The championship was first played in 1992 in Zimbabwe and won by South Africa on every occasion except 2006 when Egypt picked up the trophy.

In 1981 Tessa Covell, the then President of the Zambia LGU, was invited to take a team of lady golfers to India to play in the All India Championships. The idea of an All Africa Championships appealed to them and after much consultation over the next nine years and her move to Zimbabwe, the time was right for the inception of the All Africa Challenge Trophy.

An important thought that generated this initiative was the fact that none of the African countries were realistically able to compete in the World Championships, the Espirito Santo. Their golfing standards simply needed a home grown training ground, rotating within the geographical area.

The event is run by the organising committee of the host country, with financial support from by the R & A, and assisted and overseen by the Regional Trustees who ensure that the guiding principles are adhered to, and that the participation in the event continually expands.

Over the years the standard of golf has improved substantially with enthusiasm generating the formation of at least five national ladies golf unions. The event is entirely inclusive, accepting all countries wishing to participate, without any qualification, other than holding a recognised handicap, gender, and a desire to compete enthusiastically.

In the past four years, South Africa has invited and assisted promising players from the AACT to participate in the South African Stroke Play Championship. Many good friendships have been forged with these young women, some of whom return year after year to enjoy the increased competition in South Africa.

The Flag Raising Ceremony takes place today and the first round of the All Africa Challenge Trophy will be played on Tuesday 5 June after two practice rounds.

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