Table Tennis England Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe has visited Kenya to launch a long-term partnership to help develop the sport in the African nation.

Elite performance, talent development, participation, coaching and governance are all on the agenda in a programme which will see Table Tennis England act as mentors to the Kenya Table Tennis Association to help the sport there grow and flourish.

The initiative is under the auspices of the Leading Edge programme, run by UK Sport in conjunction with a total of 13 Chief Executives of National Governing Bodies.

It is also supported by the ITTF, with Deputy Chief Executive Glenn Tepper and Director of Development Leandro Olvech playing key roles in connecting the English and Kenyan leadership.

Sara has just returned from a four-day visit to Nairobi accompanied by Dr Elias Musangeya, representing UK Sport, during which they met Andrew Mudibo, the President of the KTTA and the KTTA Executive Committee. On Saturday they facilitated a conference involving the Kenyan Branches, clubs and partners. During the day the conference debated vision, mission and priorities for the next stage in the development of Kenyan table tennis.

Sara outlined the journey Table Tennis England has undertaken in recent years and its strategy for the next decade and told delegates that sharing ideas would be a key part of the partnership.

Sara at the conference

She also announced that the two parties would agree a series of short and long-term collaborations which would help the KTTA achieve its strategic plan, including the sharing of best practice in coach education and talent development. Table Tennis England will invite top Kenyan cadets and their coaches to join England Youth Squad camps in future years.

Sara said:

“This is a partnership for the long term and although we are referred to as mentors, we can also learn from the KTTA. Dr Elias and I were both struck by the focus and vision of the KTTA leadership and volunteers and their desire to bring about meaningful change as they grow table tennis in Kenya.

“It was exciting to see an immediate impact when, off the back of a report in a national newspaper about the collaboration, a private school in Mombasa contacted the KTTA to enquire about buying equipment and introducing table tennis in their school.

“The plan is for the two organisations to support each other, making strides in performance, participation and governance.”

Sara and Dr Elias also visited the Mathare Youth Sports Association, a community development organisation in Nairobi which uses sports to encourage positive social change. Having focused on football for almost 30 years they are now working in partnership with the KTTA to introduce table tennis, specifically aimed at under-12 girls.