Accra, July 10 - GNA - Samuel Otokunor Sackey, alias Jimmy Lokko, a 54 year-old former table tennis player has opened an academy at the Accra Sports Hall to train young players in a bid to redeem the falling standard of the sport in the country.
Speaking to the GNA Sports on Thursday, Jimmy who described himself as a volunteer coach said he was moved into establishing the academy by the low level of the game in the country and hoped that his efforts would soon yield good results and steer Ghana table tennis back to the top.
The coach said he played under the tutelage of Mr D.G. Hathiramani , the late Indian philanthropist and has decided to train players because of the love he has for the game and his disappointment at the performance of our national team in international competitions. "In the sixties and seventies, Ghana was the best in Africa, We also produced the singles champions in the male and female categories but now we do not have even a West African champion," he said. Jimmy identified the high cost of equipment as another factor militating against the development of the game.
"The government should try and establish a sports equipment shop so that our sportsmen and women could buy their equipment at subsidised rates if we want our sports to move forward.
"A standard table tennis bat costs over one million cedis and I can't imagine how many children, willing to take to the game, can afford one. Then they would have to buy their shoes, shorts and shirts and pay their fares to training daily without any allowances from anywhere." The volunteer coach praised Eric Amoah, Holland based professional table tennis player for donating 20 pairs of assorted bat rubbers to the local players.
He advised corporate organisations and individuals who have the means to come to the aid of the sport as it has a reservoir of talents, which could be harnessed to put Ghana back on the continental map.