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Tennis thrives despite leadership row

By James Bakama

Added 2nd January 2017 06:00 PM

There was an active season that included revival of the Uganda Open.

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There was an active season that included revival of the Uganda Open.

Uganda Table Tennis Association was in 2016 split in a bitter leadership row.

Drawing swords was a group led by Douglas Kayondo and another headed by Robert Jaggwe.

That each group had a sports authority backing it didn’t help matters. Kayondo had government’s recognition in National Council of Sports while Jaggwe had Uganda Olympic Committee’s endorsement.

But even amidst the fights Jaggwe and Kayondo should be commended for letting the game continue.

There was an active season that included revival of the Uganda Open.

These had stars like Gilton Chelibe, Halima Nambozo and youngster Ryan Sekulima emerge.

The three blazed to victory in all the competitions they entered.

By the end of the season many were left wondering how the trio would have performed had Uganda been very active on the international scene.

The squabbles virtually rendered the country inactive internationally. The Olympic qualifiers are amongst those events that Uganda missed out on.

Chelibe, 19 is one of those stars many believe would have left a mark on the big stage.

The Mbale Tigers player was unstoppable in the Mbale Open, Jinja Seniors, Xmas Cup, Thika Open and the country’s biggest event- the Uganda Open.

“He is simply too talented. He has a very bright future,” notes Uganda’s most successful table tennis player Paul Mutambuze.

Mutambuze, currently a national coach, says Chelibe reminds him of his days as an emerging teenager.

“Just like him I also broke through to the national team at 15.”

Chelibe’s strong point lies in his serves and ability to contain even the most lethal of attacks.

Sekulima,11 is even more proof of the great future that the game holds.

Mutambuze sees another emerging star in the Takuba Primary School student. “All he needs is proper guidance and we shall have another great national team player.”

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