Kitale’s St. Monica Girls from Trans Nzoia are seeking to improve on their last year’s table tennis performance as they make their fifth appearance at the 16th edition of the East Africa Games as this weekend in Gulu, Northern Uganda.
St. Monica have dominated table tennis locally since 2007 when they toppled Menengai High School of Nakuru. At the recent national games, all the top three girls were drawn from St Monica. Reber Susan, Ruth Mamai and Lear Mutashi won gold, silver and bronze respectively. Six out of 12 girls who will represent the country in the discipline in Gulu are drawn from St Monica. The other three are Valarie Chebet, who was fourth, Victorine Njeri (6) and Bridget Oluoch (7). They will be joined by girls from Visa Oshwal in Nairobi, Mwala Girls, Kisumu Senior School and Loreto, Limuru. Under their coach Justus Gichuki, they said they are confident of taking number one position. “It’s not the first time for the girls to represent Kenya at East African Game. We have always won and we are confident of winning again,” he said. Gichuki said they hope to improve on their last year’s bronze medal at the games. In Uganda, they face debutants from Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan. Captain Victorine Njeri said their secret to remain top has been hard work and team spirit. Coach Gichuki said that table tennis is slowly taking its roots in the countryside’s and good players are cropping up unlike in the past where it used to be a Nairobi-Mombasa affair.
“In the past, table tennis used to come be a preserve of schools from Nairobi and Mombasa but not any more,” he said. Trans Nzoia county also produced the best boy in the event from St Joseph’s Kitale, Joel Zablon Ekisa who is also in the entourage to Uganda.