by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer and Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah
For the first time in Africa; training for young aspiring media practitioners was being facilitated by the International Table Tennis Federation in partnership with the African Table Tennis Federation and the Kenya Table Tennis Association.
After a rigorous selection based on the number of applications received from across the continent, five lucky candidates were selected from the southern, eastern, northern and western regions in Africa. From the Western region; Ghana’s Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah and Nigeria’s Latifat Adebayo made the cut, while from the northern part, it was Egypt’s Hasan Gamal Masoud; from the eastern region, the name is Kenya’s Charity Wanja Muturi.
Undoubtedly a move in the right direction; the initiative was promoted by Andrew Mudibo, the President of Kenya Table Tennis Association and supported by Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation.
“This is the first time that a Media Conference has being organized. It is important that as the game develops that we do not just look at development but at such things as administration. Table tennis will not be able to go far if we don’t get the media involved. It is important to get the media involved in the development of any sport. If the media is not there, then that sport will not grow and when the sport doesn’t grow you find that you are not able to get sponsors coming in to assist’’ Andrew Mudibo
According to Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah, the first ever media training for sports journalists with an interest in table tennis ended successfully at the conference room of Ibis Styles hotel in Nairobi on the eve of the tournament
“If there is no media coverage; the spectators and fans are not there; also you will not know how to move the game forward so it was important that this conference was organized for interns from the five different regions of Africa; the media coverage for each region has to be there. At the end of the conference, all will be well equipped to cover the whole of Africa in terms of media reporting.’’ Andrew Mudibo
Olalekan Okusan, Press Officer for ITTF-Africa, instrumental in securing this training seminar, was the facilitator of the training programme.
‘’I want to thank the ITTF and Olalekan Okusan for this opportunity given to these Interns in terms of training them in media coverage to improve reporting in table tennis in Africa. As you are aware, Africa has two players in the top 30 world ranking. It is important to use this fact to whip up media interest to get more followers for the game; this will eventually translate into recognition and sponsorship.’’ Khaled El-Salhy
The essence of the training was to equip sports journalists with the tools to write creative stories in order to attract more readership and sponsors to the game.
“It was a very important and interactive programme; we delved into key facets of media studies which impacted the quality of output of stories and videos presented to a worldwide audience. Training focused on the characteristics of being a good journalist. We highlighted such as items as integrity, industriousness, observance, accuracy, empathy and developing a thick-skin. Key to the success of getting a good story is education, experience, skill, and abilities” Olalekan Okusan
Additionally, the training emphasized the importance of the various crucial actors in table tennis; players whether professionals, elite level or junior; officials and media. There are distinct differences and bring different perspectives to the sport. Key officials such as administrators, referees and coaches also play a significant part of the success story.
“Media men are required to generate high quality information frequently to the fans in both local and international scenes. Members of the media are indeed unavoidable partners, ensuring that they get the right information about table tennis. They have started giving attention to the sport but the tempo in making the right information available to them is also vital for us. We intend to continue to build media contacts in Africa in order to make information available to them as soon as possible.” Olalekan Okusan
Excited, the media Interns praised the organizers of the programme for the training and equipping them with vital tools for the delivery of their work. They promised to increase reporting to sub-regional countries in their respective regions, both rural and urban communities and schools, while imparting knowledge to their colleagues who could not participate in this special training session.
The five media Interns will now focus on the Africa top 16 competition; they will be conducting player interviews in addition to organising the social media pages of ITTF-Africa.