by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer
According to Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah, Media Officer for Ghana Table Tennis Association, Felix Lartey has been nursing the dream of giving back to his community.
Notably Felix Lartey gained employment with the Ghana Immigration Service after he was discovered playing for the Black Loopers of Ghana. Meanwhile, as a member of the 2015 African Games bronze medal winning Ghanaian team, his efforts have kick started the launching of Felix Lartey Foundation, opened officially on Saturday 12th October.
Home of champions
Apart from Felix Lartey, Jamestown has produced Ghanaian national table tennis champions such as Eric Hammond, Eric Amoah, David Carboo, Lydia Cleland and Lynda Annor but their exploits have been overshadowed by the popularity of boxing in the area.
“I got my motivation from the community. The people there motivated me to where I am today, so I decided to give back to them what they have given to me. One good turn they say, deserves another. If there is a table tennis competition and there is no player from my community, I will be very sad. I also realised that no player in my community had formed a Foundation to groom players so I decided to set the pace for others to follow. My key plan is to ensure that the kids take their education seriously and combine it with table tennis. I will ensure that my colleagues in the game come around to train with them consistently. In partnership with the Tree Project we will accomplish our aim.” Felix Lartey.
The opening ceremony was graced by national table tennis players including Derek Abrefa, Emmanuel Commey, Lynda Annor, David Ashong, Collins Damoah and John Apasipanga Anamganya.
“The kids were super excited seeing so many tables at one place and were very happy to be part of it and even those who never knew about it earlier felt very bad that they were not part. They are asking when I will do it again. I would like to thank the President of Ghana Table Tennis Association, Mawuko Afadzinu and the entire association, my mum and family, Tree Project, Member of Parliament for Odododiodo constituency Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Nii Lante Bannerman, Jason Onyameh, Samuel Dei of Mallas Ice Company, Prince Octopus Dsane, Mawuko Tilapia Company, Justdan Printing Press and Invert Impressions for their support to make this a reality.” Felix Lartey
No less than 140 young people from Jamestown and its environs were taken through the rudiment of the game.
“I look forward to organising a follow up tournament in December and I hope that in the next few years I will see national players coming from my Foundation and scholars as well. I am appealing to all stakeholders, government and other institutions to help me with equipment, ideas, and innovations.” Felix Lartey
The massive support from players across the continent, Felix Lartey admitted that this kind of backing has inspired him to aim high for the Foundation. However, he nurses the dream of competing at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“Every player’s dream is to play in the Olympics, so I am preparing towards it and with the help of God I believe it will be possible.” Felix Lartey
Felix Lartey is currently ranked 531 in the world.