NAIROBI, Kenya, July 14 – The Kenya Table Tennis Association (KTTA) received 50 tables on Saturday from San Ei of Japan, an initiative that seeks to have more girls fielded at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.
Speaking during the official launch of the programme; ‘Let the Girls Shine’ at Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA), KTTA president Andrew Mudibo said the association is targeting a minimum of 5,000 girls below the age of 12 to play the sport by 2020.
The tables worth one million each, will be distributed to 16 schools around Nairobi, four at MYSA (which will be the headquarters of the programme,) while the remaining 30 will be distributed around the country in co-operation with the Kenyan Government.
“Through Sports For Tomorrow, Japan is targeting 10 million people in developing countries, to leave a legacy for the Games all over the world and in Kenya they settled on the girls in underprivileged areas.
“Our target is to field more players in the sport and it is our prayer and hope that a girl from this programme will make it for the Olympics Games. A lot has to be done in terms of equipment, it is not enough but it’s a step forward to the intended target,” said Mudibo.
Mudibo added that each region that will receive a table will sign a contract to ensure that they are being put into proper use.
As part of the long-term partnership, San Ei will also send experts to the country to teach locals on how to make the tables creating employment opportunities.
The Japanese Embassy, represented by first secretary Seiji Teshiro, pointed out that the country has a lot of potential in the sport after engaging some girls in friendly matches.
“As the embassy of the Japan we would like to collaborate with the Kenyan Government to see the sport grow. One of the girls I played against was very good. I hope she could qualify for the Games soon,” said Teshiro.
For 10 year-old Jane Campbell of Moi Air Base Primary School, on of the beneficiaries of the programme could hardly hide her exciment after receiving the tables.
“I’m happy that I can be able to access proper equipment for training. Ever since I was introduced to the sport by my friend Ann Marie while I was in class four, while I was just eight years, fell in love with it and wanted to learn more. Ann is now abroad playing the table tennis and I want to be like her. I hope to represent my country one day at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and in any other international events,” said Campbell.