The association has an experienced and highly motivated team led by their secretary general Tinashe Duri organising the Harare Closed. “We have done the necessary preparations. A team of umpires and referees is already in place,” said Chinyeze. The tournament is the first HTTA has hosted since the beginning of the year. Chinyeze said, “We expect top players in Harare province to grace this occasion.”
HTTA extended an invitation to aspiring table tennis players to sign up for the tournament. Chinyeze said, “We will be there to evaluate the beginners’ level of play and direct them to the various training centres most convenient for them for further training.” Beginners will also get an opportunity to interact with more experienced players.
HTTA is an affiliate of Zimbabwe Table Tennis Union, a member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Its primary goal is the development of table tennis in Harare. The organisation has ITTF trained coaches under the coordination of their technical director Ashley Chamwa. The coaches train players directly. However, in order to be effective on a wider spectrum they also train lower level coaches. Chinyeze said, “We have targeted this approach particularly to schools where the teachers are taught how to train their children.” They also carry out talent identification programs to identify children in need of specialised professional coaching.
Meanwhile, HTTA is also aiming to boost female participation in table tennis. “We have a particular inclination towards the development of Ladies as their participation is currently low,” he said. Generally women have not fully participated in sport because of various stigmas. Chinyeze said, “We wish to break these barriers by highlighting the advantages of sport, particularly table tennis.”
Table tennis is not a power game but more to do with speed and coordination. It is also a non-contact sport. In this sport, serious injuries are rare. This, on a social level, allows play across gender and different age groups. “With sufficient skill it is easy for an 11 year old girl to win a game against a 27 year old man,” said Chinyeze. He said HTTA is determined to spread table tennis to reach the grassroots.
Those interested in table tennis or playing can contact HTTA technical director Ashley Chamwa at 0773 224 181 or 0772 554 563. Or email: [email protected]