Demonstration during The My Gender, My Strength 2021 Uganda project at Ivory Hotel, Nansana (Credit: David Isabirye)

World over, the essence of sustaining any given sport is to ensure its continuity and vibrancy at all times generation after generation.

Time immemorial, fresh stars are born and developed to serve the sport to perfection.

Definitely, at any one given stage in life, there is that inevitable retirement time and the vicious cycle is continuous.

Karen Harmony in red against Elizabeth Namuyiga (Credit: David Isabirye)

Therefore, the recruitment process remains key at all times. Then, the talent development epoch through coaching, continuous training, internal tests and external competitions.

In Uganda, Table Tennis has sought that right desirable path of early talent recruitment, grooming and further development.

Edith Namukasa returns a shot during a demo game with Irene Wotanabeera (Credit: David Isabirye)

The “My Gender, My Strength Uganda 2021” project has been running for now a fortnight with only young girls who have never held a racket recruited into the Table Tennis sport.

At least 120 girls have been lured to play the Table Tennis sport under 9 training centers within Kampala and Wakiso Districts.

These centers are; Quality International, Kiddawalime – Namugoona, Green Valley – Kyebando, St Bernard – Kawempe, Kawempe Academy – Kisaasi, Zion – Nansana (Nganda), Makerere Secondary School, Amazing Grace (Nganda) and the J.B Tamwesigwe Center.

Norah Nabukwasi, Table Tennis young female coach (Credit: David Isabirye)

The project was given the lee-way by the International Table Tennis Association (ITTA), Yako Bank, National Council of Sports (NCS) and Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA).

Robert Jaggwe, the president Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA) is humbled for the external support from ITTA, NCS and Yako Bank to have the “My Gender, My Strength Uganda 2021” project up and running.

UTTA president Robert Jjagwe shows budding TT player Karen Harmony how it is done (Credit: David Isabirye)

We are very delighted for the support accorded to us from ITTA, Yako Bank and the National Council of Sports to make this program a reality. On average, a total of 120 young girls who had never played Table Tennis were recruited and started playing the game under 20 days. We want to spread wings to the other parts of the country and later involve the boy child. We have a target of increasing the number of females into Table Tennis in Uganda.

Robert Jaggwe, the president Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA)
Robert Jjagwe, the President of Uganda Table Tennis Association (Credit: David Isabirye)

Yako Bank provided 65 branded rackets, ITTA facilitated the coaches and balls whilst NCS came in with the playing tables.

The tables will be left at the different centers and schools to help the recruited young girls continue to train.

ITTA certified coach Edward Koboyi alongside other trained young female coaches Deborah Wandera, Flavia Amaniro, Rebecca Nalumansi (Project coordinator), Edith Namukasa (assistant project coordinator) and Irene Wotanabeera have been taking the lead.

Edward Koboyi, Head coach of Milan Table Tennis Academy (Credit: David Isabirye)

Koboyi tags the “My Gender, My Strength Uganda 2021” project as a special blessing, for it has helped many young girls learn how to play Table Tennis from scratch.

My Gender, My Strength Uganda 2021” is a special project. We have been able to recruit many young girls into the Table Tennis sport and most of them are willing to carry on and play the game.

Edward Koboyi, Table Tennis Coach
Edith Namukasa, Assistant Project Coordinator of My Gender, My Strength Uganda 2021 (Credit: David Isabirye)

Edith Namukasa, assistant project coordinator is humbled for all the support of the World Table Tennis body, National Council of Sports and the local Table Tennis body, UTTA for such an initiative.

We are happy for the support from ITTA, NCS and UTTA as well as the parents who have allowed their children to be part. The future is really bright ahead of the Table Tennis Sport in Uganda.

Edith Namukasa, assistant project coordinator – My Gender, My Strength
Edward Koboyi, Robert Jjagwe and Edith Namukasa address the media at Ivory Hotel in Nansana (Credit: David Isabirye)

The project will climax on Saturday, 20th November 2021 at the Milan Table Tennis Academy home venue of Ivory Hotel in Nansana, Kampala.

There will be internal competitions for the girls in singles, doubles and teams’ events with prizes awaiting the top performers.

Uganda as a country will conduct Table Tennis trials for the France U-18 championships as well as the Common Wealth Games qualifiers.

Group photo during the launch of My Gender, My Strength Uganda 2021 project at Ivory Hotel, Nansana (Credit: David Isabirye)

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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