How Sebatindira conquered the world through Poland

World champion Joseph Sebatindira. PHOTO/COURTESY OF WTT 

What you need to know:

In the group stages on Friday, Sebatindira thrashed three home-based  opponents to book a date up Milosz Grocholski, also from Poland  in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Joseph Sebatindira's campaign at the World Table Tennis Youth Contender Championship in Wladyslawowo, Poland was entirely against Polish players.

But that did not stop the  nine-year-old sensation from Uganda adding another world title to his CV after scooping the Under 11 Boys Singles title on Saturday afternoon. 

In the group stages on Friday, Sebatindira thrashed three home-based  opponents to book a date up Milosz Grocholski, also from Poland  in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Sebatindira's hopes were slimming after losing the first two sets 10-12, 6-11, and having lost the Under 13  quarterfinal to a Polish opponent on Thursday, you could fear for the little Ugandan in huge debt. But Sebatindira composed himself and took the last sets 11-5, 12-10, 11-3 to progress 3-2. What an escape.

Surprisingly, the semifinal was child's play as Sebatindira beat Ignacy UTYLSKI, also from Poland 3-0. 
Gesture of honesty

With eyes on the prize, the final against Wojciech FLAUMENHAFT was the toughest for Sebatindira. Granted, he  took the first set 11-8, but lost the second and the third 7-11, 11-13. But the Ugandan gem did not panic. 

Perhaps, he had mastered how to handle Polish opponents that he even refused to take a free point when the umpire erred.

Sebatindira was leading set four 9-7 and he badly needed to win it to level matters. Then the umpire gave him a point to extend the lead 10-7. Sebatindira reminded him that it was wrong because the ball had hit the net after the opponent's service. 

So it was not a point. Who does that when they are hungry for victory? Well, he won the set 11-7 and another 11-6 to triumph 3-2. 

Now Sebatindira is the WTT U11 Boys Singles champion, a title he now won on three continents: first in Cairo, Egypt in October  2023 and repeated in Doha, Qatar in January. 

Over the two age categories, Sebatindira, the only African in the tournament,  on aggregate defeated Polish players 10-1, having lost only the quarterfinals of the Under 13 category on Thursday. 

Next, Sebatindira and his coach Alvin Katumba will cross to Sweden for a high-level training camp in Halmstad before playing at the Helsingborg WTT championship. Their last stop will be another WTT championship in Sandefjord, Norway in mid-June.


Group One 
3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-2) Kaspian BOREK

3-0 (11-3, 11-5, 11-3) Krzysztof Atlas

3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-1) Jeremi Witkowski

3-2 (10-12, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-3) Milosz Grocholski

 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-2) Ignacy UTYLSKI

3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6) Wojciech FLAUMENHAFT