By Sinikiwe Marodza
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia (Ambassador Li) is set to host a six-nation table tennis tournament meant to improve and promote the development of table tennis in Southern Africa.
The tournament is slated for November 17 and 18 and will see Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and the host Zambia, competing at Youth Development Centre in Lusaka Zambia.
The table tennis tourney was introduced in 2013 and has gradually grown into an annual sports event which is playing a pivotal role in the development of table tennis in Southern Africa.
Only three countries- Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi were participating during the earlier days of the tournament and the coming in of Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa shows how much the game is growing.
Zimbabwe Table Tennis Union (ZTTU) spokesperson and technical director, Noah Ferenando said his association appreciates the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia’s efforts and is going to make sure Zimbabwe capitalise on this tournament.
“This tournament was introduced in 2013 and it has played a bigger role in the growth of table tennis in Southern Africa.
“The Chinese ambassador to Zambia is doing a great job and we appreciate his efforts.
“Participation in the ambassador’s tournament has helped us as ZTTU to develop table tennis in our country.
He added: “When this tournament started less than 10 players were interested in participating, but as each year passes by more athletes are showing interest.
“This year we are actually sending 55 athletes who will be racing in the junior and senior categories,” Ferenando said.
Zimbabwe is hoping to scoop more gold medals than the other participating nations.
“Our target is to bring home nothing but gold medals, and we are doing best preparations to make sure we achieve that.
“This tournament is one of the biggest tournaments in Southern Africa, and our main aim is to be rated the best country in Southern Africa, he said.
Ferenando added that Zimbabwe is not worried about the prize money.
“We are not sure yet about the prize money, but that does not worry us.
“What is important is for us to go to Zambia and raise our country’s flag high
“And like I said earlier, we appreciate the Chinese community, they are doing their best to make sure table tennis develops in Africa,” he added.