Zambia: Table Tennis Champ Hamalambo Dethroned

PING-PONG Stars player Danny Soko at the weekend beat former champion Simon Mwando in three sets to win the second edition of the 2013 National Table Tennis Junior Championships held at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.

The event that saw 160 players competing in the one-day tournament saw Hamalambo failing to hold on to his title won last month with Mwando still failing to repeat the 2012 dominant exploits.

Soko eliminated defending champion Choolwe Hamalambo, also of Ping-Pong Stars) in the Under-16 category semi-finals winning 3-2 in set scores of 12-14, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9.

Mwando of Ng'ombe PTA School, who dominated the closing tournaments towards the end of last season, saw off Wantula Simbaya of Ping-Pong Stars winning 3-1 with set scores of 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-6

In the doubles event, the pair of Hamalambo and Simbaya beat Jeconiah Lambe and Mwandu 3-0 winning 11-5, 11-8, 13-11 having beaten the duo of Mwiza Siame and Paston Njobvu of Ng'ombe PTA School 2-0 in the semi-finals.

Siame won the boys Under-14 event beating team mate Dalitso Zulu in three straight sets winning 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 following a 2-0 semi-final win over another Ng'ombe PTA School player Chande Phiri, while Zulu beat Batholomew Mpomwa 2-0.

The Under-12 title went to Njobvu following a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Kennedy Siwakwi of Olympafrica) with set scores of 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 14-12 as Justine Kazembe of Olympafrica won the newly-introduced Under-10 category after a 2-1 win over his club-mate Wizzy Nyirenda.

In the women events, Mercy Vuttah of Ng'ombe PTA School made up her losing the first edition final to Vannessa Mbewe to win the second edition thanks to a dominant 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 15-13, 11-6) victory over Ruth Zulu in the Under-16 category.

Ruth Mutailoni also from Ng'ombe PTA School won the Under-14 competition after beating her team-mate Shilla Mwanza 2-0 as another Ng'ombe PTA School player Martha Banda claimed the Under-12 title beating Mutinta Sikaputa, also from Ng'ombe PTA School, 2-0 (11-5, 11-7).

It was another Ng'ombe PTA School affair in the Under-10 catgeory as Harriet Tembo carried the day beating Sikaputa 11-3, 11-1 to win 2-0.

And eight players received Promising Players awards with Fred Mwanza and Sarah Mulaba picked in the Under-10 category. Abraham Tembo from OlympAfrica and Jane Mwanza of Ng'ombe were selected from the Under-12.

Others were Chande Phiri and Latifa Nalawve from Ng'ombe Stars and Chipata Basic School, respectively in the Under-14 and the Under-16 events represented by Simbaya and Lonisa Phiri from Ping-Pong Stars and Ng'ombe PTA School, respectively.

And Zambia Table Tennis Association (ZTTA) patron Haroon Ghumra was overwhelmed with the 160 players that turned up for the tournament saying " this figure represents the largest field ever to have taken part in a championship event dating 20 years ago".

Ghumra said the turn-out was a clear testimony that Table Tennis was the fastest growing sport in Zambia at the grassroots level and thanked the Indian Business Council of Zambia (IBCZ), Ismail Distributors and Amigo Foods Limited for their support in ensuring that the tournament was successfully held.

He said the various winners and runners-up in each of the nine categories, as well as the eight promising young players, all received medals for their feat.

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