by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Staged at the Seikh Union, one of the most prestigious clubs in Nairobi, the Level One Course, a total of 30 hours with two sessions being held on each of the five days, was held from Friday 23rd to Tuesday 27th February; the Course Conductor Training of 12 hours, two sessions each day, was staged on Wednesday 28th February and on Saturday 3rd March.
Overall 14 students participated, 12 men and two women with notably two members of the group being from foreign shores.
Jan Berner, well-known for his coaching exploits and humanitarian deeds, travelled from Sweden; Bazira John Emmanuel Bale, a promising singer, also known for his work with slum children by using table tennis, journeyed from Uganda.
Both were delighted to be in Kenya, a country known for its wildlife, as was Ahmed Dawlatly.
“Kenya is in East Africa on the Indian Ocean. The country borders Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Lake Victoria; this kind of diversity, could be one of many reasons that has made Kenya one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.“ Ahmed Dawlatly
Equally Kenya has a very special place in history, there has been political upheaval but one event gives the country a very unique status. It is where the now 91 years old, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the British throne. At the time in 1952, then Princess Elizabeth, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, the couple was on holiday at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya when her father, King George VI, died in his sleep.
She arrived a princess, she departed a queen; in a different manner it was the same for Ahmed Dawlatly he arrived with princely ambition, he departed with kingly satisfaction and with an appreciation of the country’s heritage.
“Kenya’s flag is comprised of three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large Maasai warrior’s shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the centre; black symbolizes the majority population, red the bloodshed in the struggle for freedom, green stands for natural wealth, and white for peace; the shield and crossed spears symbolize the defence of freedom.” Ahmed Dawlatly
Great credit must go to Andrew Mudibo, the forward thinking President of the Kenya Table Tennis Association, although heavily committed with the organisation of the 2018 ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup, he was present at the opening and closing of both courses whilst also paying several visits during proceedings.
“All the participants went home with a great desire for table tennis. They learned quite a lot about being coaches and the seriousness involved. Africa needs more of these courses in each region so that our players can learn from a young age the correct techniques in the sport of table tennis.” Andrew Mudibo
Unquestionably his presence and his words motivated all the course members. Notably also present was Ronald Mugwanya, ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup Tournament Director,
A total of 12 coaches reached the necessary standard to gain ITTF/PTT Level One certificates; well done Kenya.