24 Dec 2016

Dr. Patrick Eustace Coker, the President of the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone has stated that it's time for the country's sporting set up to turn its attention to the younger generation in a bid to raise the profile of sports like table tennis to a new audience.

by Simon Daish

Speaking following the Olympic Solidarity supported Developing a National Sports Structure Course held in Sierra Leone, Dr. Coker praised the programme and has used it as a positive example of where Sierra Leone can improve its sporting structure for the younger generation of athletes.

“I always say the National Olympic Committee hasn’t got money but we have the possibility of organizing courses just like this one. One of the things I picked up in my first term in office was that we have too many old athletes and I realized that most of these athletes are involved in so many different associations. Catch them early and keep them in the sport. This is the most difficult and expensive aspect of sport management”, Dr. Patrick Eustace Coker.

The event was organised under the guidance of the ITTF Development Programme, and following a successful course there have been proposals that a similar programme could be held in Egypt for four Sierra Leone players ahead of the 2017 African Championships which are to be held in Tunisia and that a coach from China could visit Sierra Leone to assist in developing the sport in the country.

Sierra Leone competed at the 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Agadir, Morroco in October but was left disappointed in the Men’s Team competition as its victory over Madagascar was undone with defeats to Senegal and Togo. It ultimately condemned Sierra Leone to a third place finish in the group before its loss to Libya eventually saw Sierra Leone end the category in 13th position.

Mohamed Gharib of Egypt has visited Sierra Leone on a number of occasions with the aim of improving the country’s table tennis fortunes, and having appeared once again at the Developing a National Sports Structure Course which concluded on Saturday 17th December, Mohamed Gharib wanted to thank everyone involved in helping out at the event.

“I would like to thank all the coaches who have contributed to the success of course, Mr. Joseph, Mr. Charles, Mr. Suliaman, Mr. Mensah and overall coach Mr. John Bobsn; as well as the players and their parents for the great co-operation. Also, I thank Mr. Emmanuel Lebbie, Secretary-General of the Sierra Leone Table Tennis Federation and Mr. Mohamed Alie Kamara, Chief Financial Officer, who also organised transport and meals for players and officials. Also my thanks to my dear friend, Lakish Alie, for his outstanding co-operation and generous hospitality, all problems were solved immediately; he was serious in decision making. I wish him and his family the best” – Mohamed Gharib.

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