HISTORY OF TABLE TENNIS IN GHANA
Table Tennis had long started in the 1940s. However, history of organized Table Tennis in Ghana can be traced from the arrival of D.G Hathiramani, an Indian trader in the Gold Coast.
D.G Hathiramani, a good player himself, teamed up with other enthusiastic Gold Coast local players like Dr. S.B Laing, J.W Mullings, E.N Nettey and many others to form the Gold Coast Table Tennis Association in 1951. Hathiramani captained the Gold Coast team to win the AZIKWE CUP in Lagos, Nigeria.
About three years later, Hathiramani retired as an active player and took to coaching.
In 1954, Hathiramani established a table tennis school at the Accra Y.M.C.A (Young Men Christian Association). He produced a lot of good players. Some prominent ones included E.A Quaye, Okine Quaye, Samuel Hammond, Joseph Quansah, Ethel Jacks, Theresa and Ernestina Akuetteh, Helena Amankwah, Esther Lamptey, Patricia Akosua Offei and Patience Abena Opokua. All these players won medals for Ghana.
Ghana joined the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) in 1951 and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in 1961.
Okine Quaye won the Kent (England) Junior Table Tennis Tournament in 1960. In the same year E.A Quaye captured the Kent Senior Tournament.
In 1962, E.A Quaye won the Africa Men’s Singles title in Cairo. However, E.A Quaye lost the title in 1964 in Accra, Ghana, but regained it in 1968 in Lagos.
E.A Quaye underwent a table tennis Basic Coaching Course in Britain in 1961 and in Beijing Institute of Physical Education in 1965.
Another prominent player of D,G Hathiramani was a half Ghanaian and half Nigerian. This young lady troubled the Nigerian team greatly. ETHEL JACKS was the name. Ethel Jacks won many laurels for Ghana and herself between 1964 and 1976 at Africa and West Africa Championships.
In 1971, Ethel Jacks won the Africa Women’s Singles title. After 1976 Ethel Jacks left Ghana for Nigeria and later became a coach for Nigeria.
In 1977, the GTTA and the NSC organized a one –week intensive Table Tennis Coaching Course for all regional coaches.
The coaches were housed in D.G Hathiramani’s house. At the end of the course, table tennis equipment were given out to all participants. Hathiramani was affectionately called “D.G”. Until 1977, there were only two (NSC) National Sports Council paid coaches namely: E.A Quaye, in charge of the Western Region, and S.K. Allotey who was in charge of the Ashanti Region.
On 1st January, 1978, Vincent Arhin, a Physical Education Assistant Superintendent teacher of the Ghana Education Service was appointed a Regional Coach to the Eastern Region. He therefore became the third National Sports Council (NSC) coach.
In December 1980, Esther Lamptey won the Africa Women’s singles title in Senegal.
In 1981, the first Africa Table Tennis Coaches Intermediate course was organized under the tutelage of Mrs. Sung Meiying, the Technical Director of China Table Tennis Association and the patronage of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation.
The Eastern Region Coach, Vincent Arhin and the B/Ahafo Region Coach, Anthony Asante participated on behalf of Ghana.
In 1985 an agreement reached between the Ghana Government and the China Government enabled Coach Vincent Arhin and a former national player, Anthony Owusu Ansah to be offered scholarship to do an advance Diploma Coaching Course in Beijing, China at the University of Physical Education.
In 1986, Coach Owusu Ansah was appointed a National Sports Council Coach to the Ashanti Region.
In 1987, Ghana’s pair of Patricia Akosua Offei and Patience Abena Opokua won the Women’s Doubles Event at the 7th All Africa Games in Nairobi, Kenya.
In March 1988, Ghana won Gold Medal by beating Nigeria in the Women’s Team Event (Corbillon) at the Africa Zone 3 Games held in Ghana. The team was handled by Coach Vincent Arhin and the players were Patricia Offei and Patience Opokua.
In the same year, table tennis became an Olympic event. Ghana was represented by Patricia Offei, Coach Arhin, Sqd. Ldr. Ebo Bartels (Chairman), Ernestina Akuetteh (Chaperon) and Patience Opokua (Training Partner for Patricia Offei) in Seoul, South Korea at the 24th Olympic Games.
After the World Table Tennis Championships, Stephen Adjei and Patricia Offei failed to return to Ghana. That sparked off public outcry and brought about a decline of the Ministry’s interest in table tennis until 1992 when Helena Amankwah and Patience Opokua featured at the 25th Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Coach S.K. Allotey (deceased) and the leader of the team, Kwabena Yeboah of GTV fame, were in attendance.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Sports Council jointly organized a National U-10 table tennis and soccer training programmes for children in Accra for 3 months.
The maiden championship involving (5) five countries saw Ghana’s contingent winning all their matches. Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso were involved.
In 1993, Ghana Education Service and the National Sports Council (NSC) collaborated to train U-12 players in table tennis and soccer. Tutelage of table tennis was placed under Coach Vincent Arhin (NSC) while soccer was handled by Coach Akuetteh Armah (NSC) Wahab (GES) and Yaw Adu (GES). Ghana beat Benin in both table tennis and soccer.
In 1994, CADBURY (GH) Ltd sponsored a 2-Year Bournvita Table Tennis Developmental and Promotional programme throughout the country to uplift the image and level of the game.
Schools and clubs were given table tennis tables, posts and nets assemblies. Bournvita T-shirts were also given out to all participants.
In 1995, Ghana’s Isaac Opoku from Eastern Region qualified amongst the top 6 Africa players. After qualifying at the Africa Qualification competition in Lagos, E. A. Quaye was appointed the first GTTA Chief Coach.
In 1996, Ghana’s Olympic team of Isaac Opoku (Singles) and Winfred Addy (Doubles partner), Coach E.A Quaye and Hornsby Odoi were at the 26th Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. In 1997, Ghana participated at the Manchester World Table Tennis Championships. The players were Gifty Mensah, Lydia Cleyland, Comfort Danso, Eric Hammond and Seth Darko.
On 26th December 1998, Ghana buried one of her most industrious coaches, S.K. Allotey.
On 26th January 1999, Coach Arhin became the second GTTA Chief Coach after Coach E.A. Quaye. Subsequently, Coach Arhin was transferred from the Eastern Region to the Headquarters of the National Sports Council in Accra. Ghana participated in the 45th World Table Tennis Championships.
Participants were Coach Vincent Arhin, Esther Lamptey, Hagar Amo and Eric Amoah who absconded at the end of the championship in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
The Secretary-General, Ashalley-Okine was present.
In 2000, the Greater Accra Table Tennis Academy was formed to reactivate the game in the capital city of Ghana Accra, by the Chief Coach, Vincent Arhin.
The Academy was inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Mr. Sylvester Azantilo, under the direction of the Ag. Chief Executive of NSC, Brigadier Brock. In 2001, the Academy played friendly matches with the Togolese national team on “home and away” basis.
In each case, the Academy was victorious. The sponsors were Next Door Restaurant, Mr. Kudjoe Fianoo and Mr. Richard Quarshie, both members of the Ghana Football Association. In 2002, to stop favouritism, nepotism and tribalism in the selection of national players for international assignments, the Chief Coach, Mr. Arhin introduced the POINT SYSTEM.
This was accepted by both the Association and the playing body. That enabled the Black Loopers to train constantly to win for the first time in Twenty (20) years a BRONZE medal in the Men’s Team Event at the 8TH All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria in 2003. In March 2003, Ghana participated in the 47th World Table Tennis Championships in Paris, France. Nana Yaw Boateng, Eric Amoah and Eric Hammond were ranked 897, 898 and 899, respectively.
The team was accompanied by Coach Vincent Arhin and Sqd. Ldr. Ebo Bartels as Chairman. TIBHAR Co. Ltd and the Ghana Table Tennis Association signed a contract at the championship. Tibhar Company was to support the GTTA for two (2) years.
In July 2003, Ghana was represented by 5 men and 2 women at the 8th All Africa Games held in Abuja. Bronze medal was won in the Men’s Team Event. In 2004, the 13th Africa Youth Championships was held in Ghana. Ghana won 3 Bronze Medals. Ghana was disqualified for allowing Solomon Akonor, an above 18-year-old player, to feature in the Under-18 category.
Solomon Akonor who failed to submit his passport for scrutiny was banned for 2 years. The Chief Coach, Mr. Vincent Ankama Arhin, was transferred to the Western Region. The Chief Coach appealed against his sanction at the Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). After investigations and interaction with the NSC, CHRAJ ruled in favour of the Chief Coach.
The Chief Coach was reinstated at his post in 2005. However, Ghana won 3 bronze medals at the 13th Youth Championships in the Boys Doubles Event, Under 18 Boys Team Event and Girls under 15 Singles. Akosua Ketu qualified for the World Cadet Championship held in Portugal in 2005. Coach Owusu Addo handled Akosua Ketu at the Championship in Portugal.
Between 2003 and 2005, the Chief Coach was appointed a part-time lecturer at the University of Cape Coast.
He turned out 99 students coaches. In 2005, Ghana was represented at the 48th World Table Tennis Championships by the nation’s No.1 player, Nana Yaw Boateng and Sqd. Ldr.
Ebo Bartels the Chairman of GTTA in Shangai, China. In 2006, the Chief Coach, Vincent Arhin, retired at the age of 60 years. He was however, contracted to work as the Technical Coordinator of Table Tennis programmes to train the youth to become seasoned coaches. Coach Anthony Owusu Ansah became an acting chief coach of the GTTA.
At the Australia Commonwealth Games in 2006, Ghana was represented by Eric Amoah, Mohammed Ali, Nana Yaw Boateng, Bernard Joe Sam, Coach Owusu Ansah and Sqd. Ldr. Ebo Bartels. Ghana placed 14th out of 26 participating countries.
After the Commonwealth Games Nana Yaw Boateng absconded. The National Sports Council and the Ministry froze International programmes involving Table Tennis during the year.
- Local activities from 2006 under the tutelage of the Technical Coordinator included community coaching workshop in the La Constituency for the youth. 20 youngmen and women were awarded with National Sports Council coaching certificates signed by the Chief Executive, Mr. Prince Ernest Oduro Mensah.
- The second community workshop under the auspices of the National Sports Council was organized in the Ablekuma South Constituency under the tutelage of the Technical Coordinator. Certificates were awarded to 20 participants.
- An intensive coaching workshop under the auspices of the National Sports Council was supported by three (3) companies namely; Pepsi Cola, Pens and Plastics and Piccadilly Biscuits Ltd. National Sports Council certificates signed by the Chief Executive were awarded to ten (10) young trained men and women in the Greater Accra Region participating in the intermediate coaching course
In 2007, the Technical Coordinator organized an intermediate coaching course in the Western Regional capital, Sekondi/Takoradi and Cape Coast in the Central Region respectively. 12 Ghanaians represented the nation at the 9th All African Games in Algeria between 11th and 23rd July, 2007.
They included Sqd. Ldr Ebo Bartels (Chairman), Kwame Amponfi Jnr (Sec. General), Owusu Ansah Anthony (Coach), Lamptey Esther Obereki (Coach). The male players were Amoah Eric (Foreign-based-Britain), Ali Mohammed, Abrefa Derek Tawiah and Acquah-Aikins. The women players were Ketu Akosua, Annor Linda, Gyasi Beatrice Pokua and Amankwah Francesca.
At the 9th All Africa Games, Ghana improved on its Africa ranking from 12th to 9th and 9th to 6th in both men and women team events respectively. Eric Amoah exhibited gross misbahaviour before, during and after the games on an issue of his return air-fare to London. Amoah went to the extent of delaying the take-off of the Algerian plane carrying the Ghanaian contingent.
It took the plea of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) President, Mr. B.T. Baba, to calm Amoah down for the plane to take off. This was after almost one hour. Officials from the GTTA, GOC and the NSC resolved not to have any dealings with Eric Amoah as far as Ghana table tennis is concerned.