by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Member Relations, Media Officer
On Wednesday 9th June in Nairobi, KTTA President Andrew Mudibo unveiled an initiative to discover promising table tennis talent, focusing on schools across the East African nation.
The initiative is a partnership programme for talented players in both primary and secondary schools.
He explained that the partnership with the three leading schools: Visa Oshwal Primary School in Nairobi, St. Monica Girls’ School, Kitale, and St Joseph Boys High School also in Kitale, are the first steps in their pursuit of world-class standards.
The partnership is an extension of the “Tucheze Tebo” an initiative that was started by the association in 2017; it aims at identifying talented players in primary and high schools. Youngsters will be selected for a five-year full scholarship programme.
“This is an initial five-year plan; we want to nurture players from primary school to secondary school and eventually to university. It will definitely be a tall order considering the travel and training programme that the students will undergo.
We are calling on corporate partners to come onboard because we wish to give them exposure on the global stage to get the best out of them; this will mean that they have travelling expenses and their coaches too will have to get the best training to be able to impart the best tactics on them.
St. Monica Girls and St Joseph Boys’ High Schools in Kitale have over the years served as the backbone for KTTA in the western region of the country and therefore it was paramount to start the programme there.” Andrew Mudibo, President of the Kenya Table Tennis Association
For Mr Mudibo, KTTA is targeting to have in each of the 47 counties at least one primary school and two high schools (boys and girls), to be included in the programme.
“Already, KTTA is in talks with some of the leading universities to offer full scholarships to talented players, who would have come through the programme. If the programme gets the proper corporate support, a full circle of training and exposure will make this a world-class programme.” Andrew Mudibo
The Principal of Visa Oshwal Primary School Njoroge Ithagu has called on former players to lend their support and offer technical assistance for the programme to flourish.
“Most of our teachers who are our trainers in schools only played the game during their days in school. If past players can come in through the association and offer technical support, we will be able to achieve the desired results from the programme.” Njoroge Ithagu
St. Monica Girls School Principal Grace Ataro expressed enthusiasm with the initiative, noting that it will further help cement her school’s position in table tennis.
“St. Monica has been a table tennis powerhouse for close to 20 years and we are very happy to join this partnership. We hope it will be of great benefit to us and we can make table tennis a household sport just like football and athletics.” Grace Ataro
Also present was St Joseph Boys’ High School; principal Godfrey Awuori said that the concept would help develop the sport.
KTTA is aiming to have over 705 talented players securing scholarships from all of Kenya’s administrative counties.