NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4- With the Table Tennis London Olympics qualifiers a month away, the scramble for Kenya team slots continues in earnest.
Ugandans surrendered the men’s East Africa singles title when Anthony Mathenge of Kenya emerged the winner in a pulsating final.
The win put Mathenge ahead in the national standings on 6300 points; this being one of the events the Kenya Table Tennis Association is using as a yardstick to select players for the London Olympics qualifiers slated for Doha, Qatar from May 10 to 13.
Mathenge rallied from a set down to see-off a stubborn Ugandan national team player Ronald Nyaika 3-2 (11-5, 14-16, 11-2, 8-11, 4-11) to win the men’s singles.
“I was only playing a waiting game which my opponent didn’t realize from the onset,” an overjoyed Mathenge said.
Kenyan ladies fought gallantly in the singles, but it was the neighbours who took all the honours.
Therefore the ladies’ singles ended up being an all-Ugandan affair after Kenyan top lady Sejal Chandarana lost 1-3 (12-13, 14-16, 3-11, 11-9, 11-6) to Amina Lukacya in the first semi final while Janita Shah from Mombasa lost 1-3 to Ludia Magdalina in the other last four tie.
Ludia won the ladies singles after defeating her compatriot Lukacya 3-2 (13-12, 16-16, 11-3, 9-11, 6-11) in yet another animated decider.
DMK from Uganda won the team event after chalking up a 3-0 win to the chagrin of Mbale Tigers.
In the juniors class it was Peter Theuri of Makini School who stole the show. Theuri who has since landed a scholarship at the institution played his heart out when he won the under 15 class in awesome fashion and finished the under 19 class in second place contrary to expectations.
The event was the second points earning tournament this year in a system that has been designed to enhance focus and competition amongst members of the playing unit.
Points accrued by players from April 2011 through to April 2012 will count towards the Qatar trip but the structure continues throughout the year.
So it’s the final push for points as KTTA prepares to name its final team of two ladies and two men at the close of the Coast Open Championships which will be held in Mombasa towards the end of this month.
A. Mathenge (NAIROBI) 6300 points
D. Inyanje (KISUMU) 2625
A. Kiprotich (KITALE) 1925
J. Ojiambo (NAIROBI) 1532
S. Chandarana (NAIROBI) 4900
G. Sigowo (STRATHMORE) 4725
V. Cheptoo (MOI UNI.) 4025