The annual general assembly of the Uganda Table Tennis Association has resolved to recruit 1000 new players in 2020 “as the only way we can boost competition and promote the sport.”
While briefing the media on the resolutions, UTTA president Robert Jjagwe said the only way to sustain the growth of table tennis is by engaging as many schools as possible.
Hence, “The association has set the target of recruiting 1000 new players this year,” Jjagwe told the press at the Uganda Olympic Committee Sunday. That means registering at least 10 new schools every month. A lofty target.
“I know it’s not easy but to be the best you sometimes have to do complicated things. And that’s what we must try.”
The biggest limitation in the spread of table tennis has been the lack of equipment, particularly tables.
According to Alibaba.com, the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company, tables range from US$55 to US$650 [Shs200,000 to Shs2.4m] without shipping costs and taxes.
So UTTA got permission from the International Table Tennis Federation to develop their own home-made cheap tables to fast-track the spread of the sport.
The announcement was made in the presence of ITTF representative Tom Kiggundu.
The association is also planning to seek guidance and partnership from existing school associations like the Uganda Secondary Schools Sports Association to speed up the recruitment process.
The assembly also unanimously welcomed the idea of reviving old clubs like Nabumali High, Mbale SS, Bucunya Women Farmers Group, which nurtured Florence Sera, one of the current national stars.
Meanwhile, the assembly unveiled a Shs680m budget for this year, with the National Council of Sports the main funder. Jjagwe said: “We don’t ask for Shs10b like football but let’s get at least Shs500m. We’re fighting for survival of the non-priority sports.”
However, the NCS general secretary recently said that government can only fund 25 percent of each federation/ association budget. That is approximately Shs170m of Shs680m.