by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer
Present for the occasion were Andrew Mudibo, President of the Kenya Table Tennis Association alongside Faid Daim, the Secretary-General and Joseph Okello, Chair of the Organising Committee.
Held 40 days prior to the commencement of play in the Kasarani Gymnasium, according to Samson Ateka, the Media Officer of Kenya Table Tennis Association, la crème-de-la-crème of the nation’s media was present for the occasion; a gathering which announced Sejal Thakkar and Bryan Mutua as the host nation’s representatives for the prestigious tournament. In addition the latest progress regarding organisation was detailed.
“The aim of the media launch was to unveil the players and at the same time create awareness amongst the media houses here in Kenya, so that they can start reporting and taking an interest in the tournament. We expect by the time the tournament is held, we shall have very good publicity for the players who are coming and also for the whole event.” Andrew Mudibo
Matters are now in advanced state, the local organising committee, headed by Joseph Okello, has been working tirelessly to stage a befitting tournament.
“The ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup is a special event in the hearts and minds of the continental table tennis community. It is a real privilege to evoke the memory of the greatest players and adventurers of that period by hosting the continent’s most challenging historic Men’s and Women’s Cup, which holds the key to the World Cup slots for the continent.” Joseph Okello
Kenya’s rising star Bryan Mutua and experienced Sejal Thakkar were all smiles at the event, clearly relishing the forthcoming opportunity.
Notably 19 year old Bryan Mutua is a product of Kenya Table Tennis Association’s “Tucheze Tebo” (Swahili for let’s play table tennis); he is one of the fastest rising Kenyan youngsters and a prodigy from the evergreen Mwala High School production line in the east of Kenya.
Meanwhile, 42 year old Sejal Thakkar is the never-say-never women’s table tennis star. She will be playing in her fourth Commonwealth Games this year after having competed in Nairobi.
“It’s the passion of the game that drives me and brings me back to the table time and time again. Playing in the Top 16 is a special moment. Most of the players are ranked globally, so playing against them will improve my ranking and prepare me well for the Commonwealth Games. The essence is to give it our very best.” Sejal Thakkar