14 Mar 2018

Difficult times in Nairobi for Kenya’s Sejal Thakkar and Brian Mutua at the recent ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup, both found adversaries from foreign shores most worthy opponents; for Brian Mutua it was 14th place in the Men’s Singles event, for Sejal Thakkar 16th position in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition.

It was for both a learning experience, a challenge. Now another such engagement awaits; they will be on duty at the forthcoming 2016 Commonwealth Games. Play starts in Gold Coast, Australia on Wednesday 4th April and concludes on Sunday 15th April.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

Sejal Thakkar, 42 years old, believes competing in such prestigious tournament has a special feeling.

“I am ecstatic representing my country. It is a proud moment, I am feeling very honoured and privileged indeed. I am very happy to be participating in such an epic event because that in itself is something not everyone is privileged to witness. I am really looking forward to play, watch and learn from some world class players.” Sejal Thakkar

Moreover, the mother of two believes she is ready for the challenge in Australia.

“Sport people are always ready for a challenge at any given time; definitely I am going to give my best. My targets are always to learn as one never stops learning. I am looking forward to seeing top class players and getting some ideas from them. I want to give it the best shot and get good experience and exposure.” Sejal Thakkar

Being the sole female Kenyan representative in the table tennis events, Sejal Thakkar admitted selection was not presented on a platter of gold.

“Nothing is easy in life, as one has to work hard for it. For me a lot of time, effort and sacrifice have been put in to be where I am today. It is always said: “no pain, no gain” and definitely my hard work has paid off.” Sejal Thakkar

Unlike Sejal Thakkar, who will be heading to the Games second time, 18 year old Brian Mutua will be having a feel of the Games for the first time.

“It is my first time. It is quite a privilege and an experience to reckon with; being my first time to play in this tournament, I will give my best and I hope that I can make it to the top. It was not that easy to qualify and represent the country in the Games especially as there are good players in the country. I want to go to Gold Coast to learn as much as possible, also enjoy the matches and try perform even better than in the previous tournaments in which I have played.” Brian Mutua

For both major challenges await on the east coast of Australia.

2018 Commonwealth Games Sejal Thakkar Brian Mutua