From Left: Emmanuella Yaa Kyere ,Under 12 female Champ; Isaac Arhin, under 12 male champ; Middle; Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah, Brain behind event; Sandra Arhin, under 15 female champ and Raymond Ankrah, under 15 male champ.
The maiden edition of Table Tennis Under Bridge Competition which was held at Ofankor Barrier Underbridge, to unearth talented kids in table tennis, lived up to its billing as it was all full of action from talented kids from Ofankor and its environs, with some coming all the way from Ashaiman and Kasoa.
The sublime skills on display from these kids were overwhelming at spectators in the arena and those in their moving vehicles watched in awe. An estimated number of 20,000 eyeballs took a glimpse of the eight (8) beautifully displayed table tennis boards and players.
At about 8:30am, the place was all ready for the game of ping pong, and a sight to behold. There was good music at the background and the kids were all excited.
Ofankor Township was represented by Mr. Samuel Owusu, a statesman. The Member of Parliament for Trobu Constituency, under which Ofankor falls, Honourable Moses Anim who was away on national duties, was represented by his aide Honourable Fuseini Saddat.
Coach Michael Appiah of the University of Ghana, Coach Samuel Ashittey of Fire Service, Coach Yarboi of Ghana Table Tennis Association, Coach Richard Golightly an ex national star, and Coach Dora Sarpong of Ghana Table Tennis Association and coach of the female national team were all present to mentor the kids.
The National team was represented by Emmanuel Commey, David Addy and Adolf Awotwe.
Special guests present were Divine Nkrumah of GN Group, Bimbola Osinbowale, Louis Laryea, Civil Engineer and philanthropist Kamal Deen Mahdi, Architect Samuel Nartey, Stephen Asamoah and Henry Kumah Adjirickor.
Other members of the Ghana Table Tennis Association were Nana Opoku Jackson, James Jkobbyboat Boateng, Ladan Adjin Coffie, Joshua Okine, Lord Kingful and Justice Ninson.
The event started with an introduction by Kwame Ampong Asomaning of J C Positive Initiatives. He stated the purpose of the gathering.
Sabina Asomaning kick started the main event with an opening prayer.
Honourable Fuseini Saddat, who represented the Member of Parliament for Trobu Constituency, Honourable Moses Anim, in his speech, thanked the organizers of the event for initiating such a laudable program to unearth talents in the constituency. He bemoaned the lack of a sports hall in the community. He assured organizers of the event of consultation with key stakeholders in the community to allocate a place to be used as sports hall for the development of kids in table tennis and other sporting activities.
At the end of the competition, talented players were unearthed.
In the under 12 category, Isaac Arhin, Darlington Hartford, Rooney Somuah, Donald Somuah and Emmanuella Yaa Kyere were discovered.
The under 15 category produced prodigies such as Raymond Ankrah, Raphael Abu, Joshua Nunoo, Seth Gyan and Sandra Arhin.
These discoveries will be taken through a series of training by Coach Michael Appiah of the University of Ghana, National team players such as Derek Abrefa, Emmanuel Commey, Felix Lartey, Courage Nenevie, William Asare, Beatrice Gyasi, Cynthia Kwabi, Eva Amankwah and a host of top players. Courage Nenevie is currently with Westchester table tennis club in the United States of America making Ghana proud with his exploits.
The future of table tennis in Ghana depends on having a huge repository of talents at the junior level who can be groomed into the various national teams.
The bane of table tennis in Ghana has always been the financial wherewithal to train players.
It will be exciting to have a national under 12 and under 15 league to keep these kids active and hone their talents. A healthy mind in a healthy body will ultimately improve upon their academic performances in school.
President of Ghana Table Tennis Association, Mawuko Afadzinu, who was present, was excited to see kids exhibiting their skills on the table. He urged them to be disciplined and take their training seriously.
We therefore call on all corporate organizations, state organizations and individuals to as a matter of urgency come on board and support table tennis under bridge to organize more table tennis clinics for these kids.
It will be awesome to have organizations adopt Table Tennis Under Bridge as their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Organizations can also adopt individual players unearthed during the maiden edition and sponsor them for an initial period of one year.
TTUB will soon organize the inter school junior high competition which will gather all the kids in the junior high schools to unearth talented players. Each school will be encouraged to acquire at least one table tennis board to encourage the development of the game.
Another interesting program which will be rolled out in March 2017 is the ‘School Table Tennis Clinic’, where TTUB will visit schools and organize training programs for the students to bring out their love for table tennis. Also parents who want their kids to have home training will be given good training to develop their skills.
Organizers will be grateful if corporate organizations and individuals can provide land, a house or enclosed space for the establishment of a training center for these kids.
Indeed this maiden edition of Table Tennis Under Bridge has been very successful although there were some challenges.
Special gratitude goes to Organizers of the event, J C Positive Initiatives, www.nokofioonline.com, Asoba Sports, Kwame Ampong Asomaning, Breakthrough Pictures, Multimedia Group, Ekow Aikins of Aikins Educational Consult, Charles Tachie-Menson, Achimota School year 2000 group, CEO of Early days School Charlotte Tachie-Menson, Civil Engineer and philanthropist Kamal Deen Mahdi, Bimbola Osimbowale, Sandra Boateng, Jason Onyameh of Divine Travel and Tour, Justice Ninson, Barbera Fosuah Adjei- Holmes Afriyie, Francis Torkornoo, Pharmacist Kenneth Agbodza, Abeiku Wilson, Kofi Danquah, Sabina Asomaning, Michael Asiamah Mintah, Abraham Appiah Tetteh and Gloria Somuah.