Women’s champion Celia Baah Danso (right) makes a backhand return against her opponent Eva Adom Amankwah in the final.
Teenage sensation Gado and Ofori sold out a good performance in a five-set thriller in the final of the Boys U-16 singles to bring the curtains down on a day of impressive table tennis, the first major event on the Ghana Table Tennis Federation’s calendar.
Gado fought off a late charge by his opponent for a 3-2 victory after winning the fifth set 11-9 before falling on his back in excitement and being carried away by his teeming supporters in a match watched by a sizeable crowd, including three legends of the sport, Ethel Jacks, Emmanuel A. Quaye and Esther Lamptey, all former African champions in their heyday.
He received a trophy, a momento and cash while his competitor Ofori also got cash for his efforts.
New venue, new format
The annual competition moved from its traditional home of the D.G. Hathiramani Hall at the Accra Sports Stadium to the spacious dome which was turned into a fine indoor sporting arena. It attracted 160 tennis players made up of junior boys and girls, senior men and women and some veterans of the game and had 16 tables being symmetrically laid in an International Table Tennis Federation-standardised playing format, which the Ghana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) hopes will become the standard for future competitions.
Another highlight of the event saw national top seed Emmanuel Commey beat defending champion Ernest Mawutor 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-9) to win the men’s singles and take home the winner’s trophy and GH¢1500 cash. Mawutor got GH¢1000.
In the women’s singles final, Celia Baah Danso beat Eva Adom Amankwa 3-2 (11-7, 9-11,11-8, 6-11,11-9) to claim the winner’s trophy and a cash reward of GH¢1000. Adom Amakwah received GH¢500 for coming second.
Promising young female talent Emmanuella Yaa-Kyireh defeated Joana Amissah 3-1 in the junior girls singles.
The GTTA president, Mr Mawuko Afadzinu, expressed his satisfaction with the high level of performance in the competition and charged players to sustain the momentum in their communities. He appealed to corporate bodies to support the rapid growth of ping-pong in the country.