NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – Lydia Setey hopes to become the first ever Kenyan table tennis player to qualify for the prestigious Olympic Games.
She is among the four players currently shaping up under Coach Anthony Mathenge at Goan Institute Nairobi.
The team will participate in the
World Olympic Singles Qualifiers planned for Ali Bin Hamad Attiya Arena in Doha, Qatar from March 14-17.
International experience has been a rewarding facet of Seytey’s playing career. She has participated in FASU Games in 2016 In South Africa and through KTTA’s Tucheze Tebo (Swahili for Let’s Play TT) iniative, she was able to represent the country at the All Africa Games in 2019 In Morocco and Africa Olympic qualifiers in Tunisia 2020.
Setey narrated: “For the past four years my training has been scintillating and satisfactory; and as a student at Kenyatta University then, I savored the great opportunity to train alongside my Campus stablemates as well as other players -especially from the men’s teams.”
For the past two years Setey has been training and coaching at the same time: since joining the teaching staff at St. Monica’s Girls High School in 2019. St. Monica is the cradle of women’s TT in Kenya.
She has had to stay in shape despite several challenges brough about by the pandemic.
“So, before COVID-19happened, we used to hold training camps together with St. Joseph Boys Kitale and got an experienced coach to carry out our training sessions. At least I had time to also get trained by that Coach. 2020 had been a difficult year because of COVID-19, since we were compelled to stay indoors. But the good thing is we would train individually to keep fit.”
Playing at the Olympic Qualifiers was an eye-opener, “so at least for now we have a clue of what to expect and how tough matches are out there.”
Setey went on: “It’s a steep learning curve, so we already have the experience from previous years.”
“I am mentally prepared Doha since I know how tough the matches will be. We have faced so many elite and experienced continental players during our Qualifier experience, and playing at the World Qualifiers, gives us the opportunity to see what the rest of the world has to offer on the ping-pong table.”
“I am glad we have gotten the much-needed exposed to overseas tournaments. I wish to be the first Kenyan ever to play at the fabled Olympic Games and to achieve that I will need to up my ante, be consistent in training, physically and mentally. With more of such exposure at international events and training outside the country, I’m sure I can reach the level the best players in the world.”