Table Tennis: Ghana duo in Tunisia for Olympic Games qualifiers

Author: Nathaniel Somuah
Eye on Olympic Games: Ghana's Derek Abrefa

Ghana’s table tennis stalwarts, Derek Abrefa and Emmanuel Commey, have arrived in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to participate in the African qualification series for the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo in July.

Six-time SWAG winner Abrefa has been pooled with current African Games gold medalist, Olajide Omotayo, of Nigerian and Ahmed Djamal of Djibouti in Group Two, while Commey finds himself in Group Four alongside Saheed Idowu of Congo Brazzaville and Brian Mutua of Kenya.

The tremendous support of the Ghana Olympic Committee led by its president, Ben Nunoo Mensah, ensured that flight tickets and the necessary support towards this very important qualifier were released on time.

With the support of Stanbic Bank Money Wallet, Abrefa had an intensive two-month training camp in the USA at the Samson Dubina Academy in Ohio and Westchester Club in New York to sharpen his arsenals in preparation to qualify for the Olympics.

GTTA officials with Derek Abrefa (right) and Emmanuel Commey 

“I’ve had a fantastic training camp in the USA and I must say I am prepared to deliver and lift the flag of Ghana high. As leader of Team Ghana to the African Games last year, I helped the table tennis team to qualify for the World Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea. This time, I am going to put in my best and ensure that Ghana is represented in the Olympics,” said Abrefa.

But it will not be an easy task for the Ghanaians as all participating nations are bringing their best players to the qualifiers.

“I know Olajide of Nigeria has really improved his game and caused an upset to win the African games gold medal. He also helped team Nigeria to win silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, too. But I have really prepared for this competition over the two months courtesy of this sponsorship secured for me by my president, Mawuko Afadzinu. I will surely perform to the best of my ability,” assured Abrefa.

Emmanuel Clottey recently won the Chairman's Cup

Commey has also benefitted from a good training session towards this qualifiers. He won gold at the recently held Chairman’s Cup at the Fantasy Dome at the La Trade Fair Centre, and has been under intensive training, ranging from ball placement, footwork and tactical training. He is positive of making an impact in the tournament.

“I have always dreamt of taking part in the Olympics, and once this opportunity has availed itself, I will grab it with both hands. I have really trained hard for this event and I know I will make an impact in the qualifiers,” said a hopeful Commey.

Optimistic: GTTA president, Mawuko Afadzinu

Ghana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) president, Mawuko Afadzinu, is optimistic his charges will deliver.

“Abrefa and Commey are very well prepared for this Olympic qualifiers. By the kind courtesy of Stanbic Bank Money Wallet and the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), we have provided the necessary financial support and logistics to ensure that they deliver when it matters.

"I must commend GOC presiden,t Ben Nunoo Mensah, for his swift response when we called on him and I must say our players are motivated well enough to qualify,” said an optimistic Mr Afadzinu, who is also the Head of Marketing at Stanbic Bank Ghana.

Play commences in Tunis from Thursday, February 27 to Sunday, February 29, 2020.