Simon Osei and Blessing Labanti emerged winners of the PingHopes Cadet Table Tennis Championship which was held at the D.G Hathiramani Sports Hall of the Accra Sports Stadium last Saturday.
The competition which is the second being organised by PingHopes Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) assembled U-15 players from major table tennis club from various regions in the country. In the boys’ category, there were 28 participants from 12 clubs, whiles 14 girls represented 10 teams to compete in their division. Some participating clubs were, PingHopes Foundation, Rising Star TTC, Otumfuo Stars, Effutu TTC, Western Region TTC, St Francis Fondation, Ashaiman TTC, Asoba Foundation, JL TTC, Queens Club and others. Simon Osei from PingHopes Foundation successfully progressed through the round of 16 and 8 stages of the competition and met his pal, Derrick Ofotsu from the same club in the semi-finals, Osei exhibited an exhilarating performance to beat his opponent by a 3-1 scoreline to book a place in the final. In the other semi-final encounter, David Ofori from Ashaiman TTC met Francis Porja of Rising Star TTC. Ofori’s knowledge about the game ensured his victory having overturned 1 nil deficit to win 3-1. The final lived up to expectation, as two poised opponent caused their colleague players at the auditorium to be cheering and clapping in fanciful mood as they witnessed the game. Osei reversed a 1 nil deficit to lead by a 2-1 margin, however, his opponent levelled the scoreline to make it 2-2, in the final game, a stellar performance by Osei made him victorious after a hard fought round. In Osei’s remarks to the media after the game he noted that “my opponent is a skilful player so I had to use my head (think) to beat him. The game was a tough one and I am happy that I won. My dream is to be a top table tennis player””. For his prize, he was presented with trophy and the cash prize at stake and other valuables like gold medal, books, certificates, rubber and blade, maths set. All other participants received certificates, Books and some educational materials too. The girls’ category also produced some interesting moments to the admiration of colleague players. After progressing from earlier stages of the competition, Blessing Labanty of JL TTC triumphed over Emmerald Bortey from PingHopes by 3-0 whiles Irene Arthur of Western Region TTC suffered a 0-3 loss to Anastasia Doosu from Vilcabamba TTC from Volta Region. Blessing’s prowess in the competition was unmatched and proved worthy again in the final as she outshined Anastasia by 3-0 to clinch the trophy and the cash prize at stake and other valuables like gold medal, books, certificates, rubber and blade and maths set. Joseph Amoabeng, the founder of PingHopes Foudation spoke about the competition and its’ future, “this competition is to promote table tennis among younger ones and also to encourage and motivate them to take the sport serious. It is also to give them exposure to be able to exhibit their talents. In the next five years this competition will be very big, we hope to get sponsors to be able to make the competition bigger and invite more clubs, however we hope to make it an annual programme”. In attendance were, Mr Mawuko Afadzinu, President of the Ghana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) and other executive members of the Association.