by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
“Let the Girls Shine” and “Tucheze Tebo”, a colloquial term for “Let’s Play Table Tennis” are the current initiatives in the East African country, with Kitale town, a remote area of the country known as the “the cradle of the girls’ game in the country” being targeted.
Leading Kenyan female players Gloria Sigowo and Valencia Cheptoo are from the town.
“I wish to thank Jan and Nina for this generous contribution to the girls’ programme. The Kenya Table Tennis Association will distribute the equipment in a very transparent manner and for the good of the game. On behalf of the Kenya Table Tennis Association, we would once again take this opportunity to say thank you for boosting this noble initiative under the Tucheze Tebo programme, which we launched a few years ago to try and bring the level of the game to desirable heights. Kenya will be hosting the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup. It will be a privilege to have you and Nina as our special guests.” Andrew Mudibo
Jan Berner explained that the donation was support from his family and Swedish Club, Halmstad BTK; he said his family and club will continue to support the girls’ programme which seeks to qualify the first Kenyan female player for the Olympic Games.
“The donation has come from me, family and club; we are very enthusiastic about it. I hope the equipment will be useful for the girls’ programme as they seek to make Kenya proud at the highest level. I am Swedish but I live in Oslo city in Norway. We came to Kenya last night so we haven’t seen much of the country. Tomorrow we will have an excursion in and out of the city so we are looking forward to it. We are here for a short visit. I’m glad that Mr. Mudibo has invited us to the ITTF Africa Top 16 so we will have more time to interact and practice with the juniors and coaches.” Jan Berner
A coaching clinic was conducted by Jan Berner and Nina Jeletich with Fahd Daim, a former national champion and now Secretary-General of the Kenya Table Tennis Association, assisting.
Present at the clinic was 13 year old Kavan Gudka alongside 12 years of age Dav Shah, two of Kenya’s aspiring young players.
“Thank you for sacrificing your time to come and teach us how to employ new tricks in the game.” Dav Shah.
Appreciative young players, who can certainly learn from Jan Berner, in the past he has been a Course Conductor for ITTF Development Programme initiatives.
“In Sweden I represent Halmstad BTK which is one of the biggest clubs. At the moment I’m living in Norway. I’m an independent coach at the moment but I have also worked for ITTF. I have been to many countries in Africa to try and raise the level of the sport. The most important thing in Kenya at the present is for the country to run many coach education courses in order to bring up the level of the game and probably take it to the next level. We should try and bring in as many juniors as possible to raise our bar higher.” Jan Berner
A splendid gesture from Jan Berner and Nina Jeletich, for Kenya it is step by step progress.