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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Table tennis needs a shot in the arm

13th January 2013

For ages now, we have not heard anything about local table-tennis in the national media.

In fact, it is hard to think of the last time a prestigious national table-tennis championship was held.

These tell-tale signs indicate that this exciting sport is in decline on the local sports scene, which is worrying news indeed.

In light of this, one hopes that the table-tennis association in the country and sports stakeholders in general will tirelessly exert efforts to breathe new life into this ailing sport.

One of the major challenges that table-tennis faces is that it seems participation figures in the sport have plummeted to new lows across the country.

Indeed, the sport is in pressing need of promotion, from the grassroots level upwards.

In a bid to solve this, it would be advisable if the local table-tennis association set ambitious targets of increasing participation figures in the sport within the next decade by say 60 percent.

In order to achieve this goal though, a few important steps would have to be taken.

The national table-tennis association for instance, would have to make efforts to spread the sport to as many areas of the country as possible so as to boost the dwindling fortunes of the sport.

However, this alone would not suffice. Would-be youth table-tennis coaches would have to be trained in order to pass on the benefits of their expertise to the youngsters at the grassroots and school level.

In addition, the sport’s governing body would have to work infinitely harder to secure funding for competitions and the development of the sport.

Despite funding and other challenges, there is one major saving grace for local table-tennis.

The sport merely requires an extremely small round ball according to set specifications, rackets, and a rectangular table divided by a net, also according to set specifications.

In other words, it is not as cost-intensive as other sports such as lawn tennis which requires a court to be constructed, according to set specifications, amongst other things.

So, the sport is certainly not in terminal decline. But the question is: are we serious about rejuvenating it?


Lloyd Elipokea is a sports commentator



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