Table tennis continued to rise in the country in the year 2016 as the national ping-pong league was successfully held in both the male and female categories.
After 30 weeks of an exciting competition, Immigration emerged champions again in the male category. The likes of top-ranked Derek Abrefa, Felix Lartey and Emmanuel Commey ensured the successful defence of the title.
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However, the Police women’s team won the female category. Led by tormentor-in-chief and top seed Beatrice Gyasi, Police beat their counterparts from Army, Immigration, Fire and Prisons to the ultimate title after a keen contest.
The latter part of the year saw top seed Derek Abrefa winning a major international competition in Edo State, Nigeria. Being the first by a Ghanaian in recent times, the ace spinner also crowned a very successful year with another victory at the West Hills Mall Table Tennis Tournament three weeks ago.
The sport continued to attract sponsorship from ASKY Airlines, as well as goodwill and other support from Mawuko Afadzinu, president of the GTTA, and his vice, Engineer Kenneth Ashigbey, Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited.
Sadly, the ping-pong fraternity was also thrown into a mourning mood following the death of Ebenezer Okai Quaye, a former national table tennis player, whose sad event occured in London after a cardiac arrest. He was the younger brother of ping-pong legend, Dr S.A Quaye.
Though the game has more room for improvement, infrastructure is its main bane as finding a permanent hall it can call its own has proved elusive.
Nonetheless, the leadership of the Ghana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) has hinted of a permanent place in 2016.
Again, more talents need to be tapped as existing players are ageing, while the sport still lacks national appeal as existed in the past.
The game also lacks skilled coaches and trainers on the field, as well as officiating officials.
For 2017 to be much better, a massive capital injection must be put into infrastructure nationwide.
A conscious effort must also be made towards training coaches and offciating officials to enable them acquire adequate skills and knowledge in the profession.
All things being equal, 2017 must be a renaissance for ping-pong.