Africa youth ping-pong tourney opens

Author: Kwame Larweh
Young sensation Emmanuel Ofori(back facing camera) is expected to lead Team Ghana to victory

The 2019 Triple Treat Ghana Juniors and Cadet Open officially got underway yesterday at the Trust Sports Emporium, next to the Bukom Boxing Arena, with a beautiful opening ceremony and an exhibition match between Team Ghana and Saudi Arabia.

The colourful opening ceremony began with a spoken word by renowned poet and playwright, Chief Moomen, who officially welcomed participating teams before the Ghana Dance Ensemble did a sketch in honour of table tennis.

The event offered an opportunity to the visiting teams such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, England and Mauritius to witness the rich Ghanaian culture displayed by the Ghana Dance Ensemble, led by Chief Moomen.

Afterwards, the participating teams, table tennis lovers and the dignitaries present stood still for the national anthem which was performed by the Die-Hard Supporters Union, who had earlier thrilled fans who thronged to the Arena with some “jama” tunes.

Among the dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Chinese Ambassador, Mr Zhu Jing, Nigerian High Commissioner, Mr Richard Ikeyi, the Technical Consultant for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dr Emmanuel Owusu Ansah and the Director General of the NSA, Prof. Peter Twumasi.

The Chairman of the Ghana Table Tennis Association of Ghana, Mr Mawuko Afadzinu, urged the visiting teams to embrace the Ghanaian culture in their two-week stay, while advising the young Ghanaian table tennis players to keep playing actively to improve themselves ahead of the 2023 All African Games to be hosted by Ghana.

 “We are here to celebrate table tennis and in the next two weeks, we are going to witness some wonderful table tennis. I would urge every visitor here to wholeheartedly embrace the Ghanaian culture during your stay in Ghana because we want you to take some part of Ghana away,” he said in his welcome address.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, in his keynote address delivered by Prof. Peter Twumasi, urged the participants to put in their best performance since the display of their talent, skill and most important their strength, would contribute to the growth of their societies.

He tasked the visitors to use the opportunity to make new friends and renew old acquittances.

The championships, which will end on April 13, is in two parts, namely the ITTF World Junior Championships for U-12 and U-15 players and an African Junior and Cadet Championships for U-18 and U-21 players.