By Tilda Acorlor
For the first time in history, a National Tournament in Table Tennis was staged in the Volta region.
On Thursday, September 21, over 150 table tennis players across Ghana converged at the Mawuli School Hall in Ho, the Volta Regional Capital, to participate in the maiden Asogli Table Tennis Challenge.
This forms part of the Ghana Table Tennis Association’s (GTTA) preparatory activities for the upcoming 2023 Africa Games scheduled for next year and the rankings for players in the sport.
With dexterity, grit, and focus, players entertained the crowd with a beautiful display of backhand, forehand, serves, and all the skills required to win a contest.
Notable names and budding youngsters like Blessing Labanti, Borteye Joanita, and Isreal Akli competed in the male and female categories. They won prizes and earned points to safeguard and improve their ranks.
Sixteen top performers were rewarded after the event.
Ghana’s Top Seed, Felix Lartey, won the male category and went home with a whopping GHC2,500 plus 150 points after he defeated Isaac Davis 3-0 in three straight sets in the finals.
Lartey dedicated the win to his 12-year-old son Samuel Lartey and promised to improve on his performance to represent Ghana at the African Games 2023 and beyond.
“I dedicate this win to my son, who is 12 years old today. He is on vacation, and I will buy him books with this money,” Felix Lartey said.
“I will go back to the US to improve on my performance and game to represent and win laurels for Ghana ahead of the African Games,” he added.
In the women’s category, Cynthia Kwabi won 3-0 against Celia Baah Danso, after Celia showed sportsmanship by giving away the last set due to a knock Cynthia Kwabi picked during their game. She also earned 150 points with a cash prize of GHC 2500.00.
“I am very excited to have won the Asogli Table Tennis Challenge, we just came back from Tunisia for an African Championship, and the performance and exposure were able to push me to win this championship,” Cynthia Kwabi said.
On her injury and performance, Cynthia recounted the stress and aggressive play from her previous and immediate game in Tunisia and praised her colleague, Celia Baah Danso, for great sportsmanship.
“Celia really did very well I wasn’t expecting her to leave the game for me at the final, and winning her 2down and the third game 6-4 which was not over, and when I was injured she just left the game. I thank and appreciate her for doing that. It was a great sportsmanship,” she said.
Issac Davis and Celia Baah as runner-ups earned 120 points and took home GHS1,500.00 each.
The 3rd to 4th placed participants accumulated 100 points with GHC800 each while the 5th to 8th and 9th to 16th positions all gained 60 and 40 points with cash prizes of GHC400.00 and GHC250.00, respectively.
The GTTA President, Mr. Mawuko Afadzinu, who was grateful to his royal majesty, Togbe Afede XIV, the Volta Regional Minister, stakeholders, and sponsors of the program said the challenge was designed to bring the best of Table Tennis in Ghana to the Volta Region.
He added that the championship would now be an annual event on the calendar of the Asogli Yam Festival.
“This championship will become a permanent fixture and a fresh addition to schedules of activities to celebrate the Asogli Yam Festival,” Mr. Afadzinu said.
The GTTA donated the LED Lights that were used for the tournament to the Mawuli School as the Association’s footprint at the school.
The championship was in partnership with the Volta Regional Table Tennis Association (VTTA) and sponsored by Stanbic Bank and SIC Ghana.