Saturday January 16 2016

Players to pay heavy price for table tennis wrangles

UTTA president Jjagwe is worried. PHOTO BY JB

UTTA president Jjagwe is worried. PHOTO BY JB SSENKUBUGE 


KAMPALA. Uganda’s table tennis players are bound to miss out on international competitions this year unless administrative wrangles in the sport are sorted out very soon.
“We have the Olympics coming up in August and several other competitions but we won’t participate if there is no order,” Robert Jjagwe, the Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA) president has warned.
Jjagwe has been at loggerheads with National Council of Sports (NCS) since last year after the government body announced they were disbanding his executive.
Only in office for a year, Jjagwe reckons government interference will be catastrophic for the sport.

Manageable issues
“We have a few manageable issues as an association and our mother body (International Table Tennis Association) advised that we meet as a family and iron them out. We also met with the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) and they also suggested round table talks,” Jjagwe revealed. “Unfortunately, NCS are not interested in stability of the sport because they have personal issues with me. They want me out of office even when I have been performing very well.”

“I have written several letters to them concerning this matter but they haven’t replied any. What surprises me, they continue to hold meetings with some of our members. They are also registering clubs, which contravenes our constitution,” he noted.
NCS insist it is in their mandate to handle federation matters and they have called a stakeholders meeting today at which they are expected to announce an interim executive committee for UTTA.

Bitter man
Jjagwe is bitter with this move. “Definitely Uganda is going to be banned from international events because ITTF won’t accept this kind of arrangement. In the end it’s the players who will lose. People who love the sport can’t act like this,” the UTTA boss said in an email.
Jjagwe claims some NCS officials don’t like him because he questioned how they handle funds allocated to federations in the national budget.
“Last year when NCS chopped numbers of athletes for the All Africa Games because of limited funds, I questioned why they had made their budget in Uganda shillings yet we were travelling abroad. That became an issue,” he said.
The Saturday Monitor couldn’t verify these claims.