They came from four regions in Africa with an expectation to update their knowledge as well as hobnobs with top players in the continent.

They were full of expectation when they were leaving their various countries and on arriving on Nairobi, they were excited making the trip.

For the first time in Africa; a media training for young aspiring media practitioners is being facilitated by ITTF in partnership with ATTF and Kenya Table Tennis Association (KTTA).

After a rigoruous selection based on the number of applications received across the continent, five lucky candidates were selected from Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western regions in Africa.

From the Western region; Ghana’s Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah and Nigeria’s Latifat Adebayo made the cut, while from Northern region, it was Egypt’s Hasan Gamal Masoud; from Southern region, it was and Eastern region, it’s Kenya’s Charity Wanja Muturi.

According to Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah, the first ever media training for sports journalists with an interest in table tennis has ended successfully at the conference room of Ibis Styles hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The one-day event acted as a precursor to the ITTF-Africa top 16 currently ongoing at the Indoor Gymnasium of Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Kenya.

“This is the first time that the Media Conference is being organized, and it is important that as the game develops, it is not just on the side of the development we are looking at in terms of administration and all that. Table tennis will not be able to go far if we don’t get the media involved. It is important to get the media involved in the development of any sport. If the media is not there, then that sports will not grow, and when the sports doesn’t grow you find that you are not able to get sponsors coming in to assist’’ Andrew Mudibo (President of Kenya Table Tennis Association)

“If there is no media coverage, and spectators and fans are not there, then at the same time you will not know how to move in terms of moving the game forward so it was important that this conference was organized for Interns from the five different regions of Africa because the media coverage for each region has to be there. At the end of the conference, you will be well equipped to cover the whole of Africa in terms of media reportage’’ Andrew Mudibo (President of Kenya Table Tennis Association)

‘’I want to thank the ITTF and Olalekan Okusan for this opportunity given to these Interns in terms of training them in media coverage to improve upon media reporting in table tennis in Africa. As you are aware, Africa has two players in the top 30 world ranking, and it is important to leverage on this to whip up the media interest to get more followers for the game, and this will eventually translate into recognition and sponsorship’’ Khaled El-Salhy (President of ITTF Africa).

The Press Officer of ITTF-Africa, Olalekan Okusan, who was instrumental in securing this training seminar from ITTF for the African Federation, was the facilitator of the training program.

This very important and interactive program which had participants drawn from Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Botswana and Ghana, delved into key facets of media studies which impact the quality of output of stories and videos presented to the audience worldwide.

‘’The essence of the training was to equip sports journalists to write creative stories that will attract more readership and sponsors to the game” Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa.

Training focused on the characteristics of being a good journalist, such as Integrity, Industriousness, observance, accuracy, empathy and developing a thick-skin.

“Key to the success of getting a good story done is your education, experience, skill, and abilities” Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa.

The training also emphasized on the importance of the various crucial actors in table tennis; players (professionals/elite/juniors), officials and media, their distinct differences and the synergy they bring together to develop the game. Key officials such as administrators, referees and coaches also play a significant part of the success story.

“Media men are required to generated high quality information frequently to the fans in both local and international scenes” Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa.

The media are indeed unavoidable partners and ensuring that they get right information about table tennis is very useful. In recent times, they have started giving attention to the sport but the tempo in making the right information available to them is also very vital for us. We intend to continue to build the contact of media in Africa in order to make information available to them as soon as possible. Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa.

As excited as they were, the media Interns praised the organizers of this program for the training and equipping them with vital tools for the delivery of their work. They promised to expand their oars and increase reportage to sub-regional countries in their respective regions, rural and peri-urban communities and schools, while imparting knowledge to their colleagues who could not participate in this special training session.

The five media Interns will now focus on the Africa top 16 competition currently ongoing in Kenya, where they will be conducting player interviews, running social media pages of ITTF-Africa, and managing all other media aspects of the game.