by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
Nathaniel Somuah, the Media Officer of Ghana Table Tennis Association, spoke to the former Ghanaian number female star about her return to the team.
“Combining table tennis with family life is very difficult. I have to play the role of a mother, wife and table tennis player. I have to take care of home first before I go for training and after training I continue my duty as a wife and a mother. Sometimes I have to skip training to take care of the family. It’s not that easy combining family life with table tennis.
Maternity period affected my game for some years. As a woman carrying a pregnancy, my play was restricted. I couldn’t partake in a lot of international competitions and national open championships.
There is a saying that hard works pays. After a long break, I came back with hard training. I started physical training three month after delivery. When my baby was five months old, I started multi-ball practice and hard physical work for endurance. My coach Ebenezer Annang Whyte took me through all the training drills I needed to get back to my former shape. I’m indebted to Ghana’s number one player and currently ranked no. 8 in Africa, Derek Abrefa who always made sure I completed my daily training schedules.
My extended family has been of great help to me, without them I wouldn’t have made it to the qualifiers. They are always available to take care of the kids when I’m ready to train or go for competitions. They also support me spiritually by praying for me. My mother is one of the great pillars to my success; their support has been great beyond expectation.
My husband is a lovely man. He understands me. He motivates and also encourages me to train and play in competitions. He once told me “my dear, I will be grateful and happier if after years of marriage you strive hard to retain your top most position as the female top seed in Ghana again.”
I would want to encourage all women who are going through similar experiences not to give up, though it’s not all that easy combining family life with table tennis. They should let their spouses know their passion for the game and with that they would do greater things in table tennis.
Training for the Commonwealth Games is moving on well, very encouraging and we strive to continue to learn more tactics before the main competition in Australia starts. Ghanaians should expect nothing but the best out of me and the rest of the team. I have confidence in all the events that I am taking part in; I will surely raise the flag of Ghana high.
For many sportsmen in Ghana, families play a crucial role in their success or otherwise, as families most of the time fund the purchase of equipment and transportation costs for training and the provision of food and necessary dietary supplements.
Qualifying for Commonwealth Games has really motivated me to train and play the game more. Going through stress and qualifying, I think I will do better when I am a bit relaxed because I can testify that I am improving because I’m in camp and the pressure is a bit down.” Cynthia Kwabi
Meanwhile, Evans Arthur, the husband of Cynthia Kwabi, is clearly most supportive; likewise he spoke to Nathaniel Somuah.
“Marrying a sports woman is really wonderful and lovely. They are very smart and intelligent. You just have to understand them and always motivate them.
“I will fully encourage my children to take their mother’s footsteps because there are a lot of benefits in doing sports, precisely table tennis. You can get a scholarship from primary school to tertiary level; also get employment in the security services, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons Service and Ghana Fire Service. There are also travelling opportunities, both local and international.” Evans Arthur
The Gold Coast, the 2018 Commonwealth Games awaits.