The Ugandan table tennis team heading for the Commonwealth Games will have the chance to test themselves against some of the East African region’s top players at the inaugural Mutaz Jinja Open, June 4-5.
More than 200 players from Uganda, Kenya and Burundi are expected to compete for the awards in various categories during the event played at Holy Cross Lake View Secondary School.
Commonwealth bound players; Ritah Nakhumitsa, Parvin Nangonzi, Florence Seera and Ludia Natunga are also expected to live for the various trophies.
Fresh off the International Schools Sport Gymnasiade Games in France, Phillip Napokooli, Tendo Kasoma, Dennis Wasswa, Shanita Namaala, Halima Astolo and Flavia Amaniyo are also expected in the Mandela Group of Companies sponsored event.
The Mandela Group provided all the trophies for the 1996 brainchild tournament Atlanta Olympian and table tennis coach Paul Mutambuze, who is also the director and founder of Mutaz Sports Center, the organizers of the event.
At a press conference on Tuesday during the event’s launch, Mandela Group marketer Herbert Bashasha emphasized the importance of sport, especially for forging unity, friendship, teamwork and health.
“We have decided to support this event to enable the growth of the sport in the country,” said Bashasha, who was flanked by Busoga Minister Baker Mugayino, Franco Masseto of the Bikers Association and the president of the USPA. Patrick Kanyomozi.
Daniel Mutabazi, one of the table tennis coaches and organizers, said there is a need to take the sport to greater heights, and for all categories of players, which is why the idea of the tournament was suggested in honor of Mutambuze.
“We are going to be holding a star-studded tournament with ranked players, national players and other players from all over East Africa all in action,”
Mutambuze spoke passionately about the sport, praising the Mandela Group for their love of sport and for sponsoring the event which he said aims to produce more table tennis Olympians from East Africa.
“This tournament is just a small part of major table tennis events planned in Jinja. The game is one of the most essential sports in promoting health,” Mutambuze noted.
He said stiff competition is expected between players from Kenya and Uganda.
Masseto noted that more needs to be done for sports in the country, while Kanyomozi praised the Mandela Group for supporting sports, and Mutaz for bringing the game to the grassroots. Mugayino also praised Mutaz for laying a foundation for the game in the Busoga region.
The event is co-sponsored by Slum Ping Pong (SPP), Trident Printers’, and Holy Cross Lake View SS.
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