The Gambia Table Tennis Association (GTTA) Saturday organised a National Open and Championship at the Friendship Hostel of the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
Speaking to reporters in an interview, the president of The GTTA, Peter Prom, who also doubles as the secretary general of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC), said the aim of the championship is to improve and develop the young people's table tennis skills in The Gambia
According to him, this kind of championship will expose the talents of the kids and make them showcase it while also attracting others to become more interested in the game, develop and identify their talents. He added that it could also be regarded as a talent identification to catch those young kids. He explained that since Gambians do not have much senior table tennis players, they would work together with Nigerians who are helping them to train the young kids to become professionals someday.
For his part, the technical director of the GTTA, Adebayo Gafar Abdoul Suralcatu, said his responsibility is to make sure that the preparations of the players vary in place, adding that as a leader, they will also make sure that they encourage the young ones to come on board and showcase their talents. He went on to say that they are training the young ones to one day represent The Gambia in an international competition and they need to start from somewhere.
Dharmendra Shakya from Nepal (Asia), who works with the Federation, said it is very interesting to participate in the table tennis championship, having come all the way from Asia to help in making the sport achieve its goals in The Gambia. He disclosed that he started playing table tennis when he was 9-10 years old.
He went on to say that the level of table tennis game is very encouraging in The Gambia and that it will need just a matter of finding a very good and professional coach to make Gambians showcase their talents to the world. Shakya finally suggested that this kind of competition should be taken to the regions and schools in the different categories, to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to showcase his/her talent.
Fatou Kassama, the winner of the junior cadet level, said she is very happy to be the winner. She added that her ambition is to become a table tennis professional and also represent her country in future.