Crucial Lessons for Uganda Team from France U-18 Expedition ISF Gymnasiade Games


ISF Gymnasiades Games 2022:

Boys:

  • Gold: Romania
  • Money: Chinese Taipei
  • Bronze: France
  • 11and: Uganda

Girls:

  • Gold: Romania
  • Money: Chinese Taipei
  • Bronze: France
  • 12and: Uganda

The 19and The ISF Gymnasiade Games officially culminated on Saturday 21st May 2022 in Normandy, France.

Uganda smiled with seven medals (all in athletics).

Athletics was one of the five sport disciplines Uganda fielded with athletes, the others being table tennis, swimming, badminton and basketball (3×3).

In table tennis, it was not the best performance by the Ugandan team from the state-of-the-art Complexe Sportif Max Louvel, Ville de Montivilliers.

Uganda finished 11and of the 14 countries in the boys category and 12and out of 13 countries for girls.

LR: Tendo Kasoma, Denis Wasswa Kikomeko and Phillip Martin Napokooli (Credit: David Isabirye)

The men’s team consisted of Phillip Martin Napokooli, Tendo Kasoma and the imposing Dennis Wasswa Kikomeko.

Shanita Namaala, Halima Astolo and Flavia Amaniyo formed the women’s team.

Shanita Namaala, Flavia Amaniyo and Halima Astolo pose for a group photo in Montevielliers (Credit: David Isabirye)

Both teams were handed over by head coach Robert Ssekitoleko.

Right from the group stages, it was eminent that Uganda were destined for a stiff but courageous mission from the quick players.

There are plenty of positives to report at home given the exposure these players have had.

The Ugandan team also had tag team wins over Argentina (boys) and Jordan (girls) with some impressive individuals as well.

Phillip Martin Napokooli against Vdovichenko from Argentina. Napokooli won 2-0 (Credit: David Isabirye)

Napokooli of Kibuli SS boldly confirms that he is leaving France as a better player than he arrived there.

“Surely the ISF tournament has opened my eyes to become a better player. I have to improve my training and improve many demanding aspects of my game, Napokooli says.

Namaala, who recorded a few wins against Bulgaria, Brazil and Jordan, was by far the best player.

She recognizes that there is still a lot of work and effort to be done to climb the ladder in order to become better table tennis players.

“I am happy for some individual and team victories that we have registered. This is a starting point for performing well. We have to work extremely hard and spend more time on the tables in training to become better players,” explained Namaala.

Uganda table tennis head coach Robert Ssekitoleko briefs player Flavia Amaniyo during a break. (David Isabirye)

Head Coach Ssekitoleko has also left a perplexing personality given the diversity in form and expertise between Ugandan players and many other players.

“The learning never stops. As a country, we have learned important lessons. There was a very big difference between our players and those who beat us. We need more training sessions to polish the gray areas of our games,” Ssekitoleko revealed.

Phillip Martin Napokooli ready to serve (Credit: David Isabirye)

Uganda competed in the individual and team doubles events.

The Ugandan delegation returns home on Monday 23rd May 2022.

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