NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan table tennis players Brian Mutua and Sejal
Thakkar have vowed to turn their failure in the ITTF Continental
Cup in Nairobi by winning medals at the Commonwealth Games.
The two players had
hoped to ride on the home ground advantage, but faltered in
their first attempt to bow out of the three-day competition,
which also doubles up as the 2019 World Table Tennis
Championships (WTTC) qualifier.
Thakkar lost to
Katia Kessaci from Algeria in straight sets of 11-7, 11-4 and
11-3 while 19-year-old Mutua lost to 10th seeded
Derek Nyoh Ofon from Cameroon 12-14, 13-15, 11-9 and 11-9.
However, the two are
taking the beating as part of their learning, saying their focus
was on being at the peak form ahead of the Commonwealth Games,
which start on April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.
“I feel bad that I
could not gain qualification to quarterfinals because the other
top players deserved to win. I mean they are among the top 16
ranked in Africa, their standards are high. However, on the
positive side is that I know where I need to improve, polish my
skills and focus on the Commonwealth Games next month,” Sejal
said on Friday in Nairobi.
For Mutua, who was
making his debut for Kenya, it was all a learning experience and
he is relieved to have shade off the stage fright and will be
ready to wrest for the medals in Gold Coast.
“Just as I expected,
it was going to be tough. I learnt a lot of things which I will
apply in my next assignment. My spirit will not die as we go for
the ranking. The top players are very good at attacking and that
is something we need to work on as Kenyans,” he added.
Track and field have
remained Kenya’s top medal discipline at the international
championships, with boxing, Paralympics and swimming working
hard to join in to widen the medal scope. But table tennis
players may be trying to punch beyond their weight in Australia.