A night of success for the girls that were introduced to the sport of table tennis through the My Gender My Strength (MGMS) project saw St. Bernard Primary School take top honours.
The project was run by the Uganda Table Tennis Association and funded by the International Table Tennis Federation, Yako Bank and the National Council of Sports.
MGMS registered immense success with over 120 girls participating in introductory training sessions, and climaxed with a tournament at Old Kampala.
St. Bernard took the day’s top honours in the team events through the trio of Joy Wanyana, Rose Nalwoga and Leticia Ndagire who won a best of five games, defeating Green Valley 3-0.
Green Valley were represented by Pearl Gidudu, Shalom Musana and Patience Nassiwa. Meanwhile Zion Primary School finished third with JB Elite TT Academy coming fourth.
Green Valley made amends for their loss in the team events, as they topped the doubles events with the duo of Musana and Happy Kalungi defeating teammates Gidudu and Josephine Namaganda.
Wanyana won the individuals tournament defeating Green Valley’s Patience Nassiwa 11 – 5 to cap an incredible afternoon for St. Bernard.
About MY Gender My Strength Project
With the glaring deficiency in opportunities based on sex, the Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA) developed an innovative project to support female participation in Table Tennis where it embarked on increasing the number of girls playing the Table Tennis sport in Uganda.
The project also aimed at accelerating as well as developing skills for girls in wide ranging activities from playing to officiating, coaching to administration.
Up to 120 girls from Kampala and Wakiso have been introduced to the game of table tennis – a significant accrual from the 50 girls who were initially targeted by the project that is supported by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Yako Bank and the National Council of Sports.
“We are very delighted for the support accorded to us from ITTA, Yako Bank and the National Council of Sports to make this program a reality,” UTTA president Robert Jjagwe explained.
“A total of 120 young girls who had never played Table Tennis were recruited and started playing the game under 20 days.”
“We want to spread wings to the other parts of the country and later involve the boy child. We have a target of increasing the number of females into Table Tennis in Uganda,” he added.
The project has run for over a month since it kicked off on October 25, 2021. Training sessions have been carried out by coaches including Edith Namukasa the assistant project coordinator, Edward Koboyi, Irene Wotanabela, Amaniyo Flavia, Deborah Wandera and Nabukwasi Norah.
Only five outreach centres were initially targeted, but nine centres have been utilised in the communities it has been implemented at Makerere Secondary School, Zion Primary School, Amazing Grace Schools and Kidawalime Primary School.
Other centres are; St. Bernard Primary School, Green Valley Primary School and Kampala Academy Primary School.
Due to the incredible turn up, two more centres were inducted to extend the outreach of the project at JB Tamwesigire TT Centre and Quality International School.
“The project was meant for five centres and maximum 50 girls, but we got an overwhelming response and we have reached out to nine centres and impacted 120 girls,” Jjagwe said.
“Whereas this has stretched us financially, it is also a very good development, and great outcome for our sport is that we have managed to expand the sport with 120 new players in just about 1 month.”
“This is an amazing statistic for us that we shall build on in the near future,” he mentioned.
ITTF supported the project with USD 1,500 while UTTA’s partnership with Yako Bank yielded rackets and playing tables that will be left at the participating centres.