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A Female Tour De Force

by Filipe

ITTF Article Link

International Women’s Day was celebrated across the globe on the 8th March 2009. In keeping with the ideals behind the ethos of women’s day, ITTF asked all its worldwide federations to host a fun tournament – the Friendship Trophy - in which the achievements of sportswomen across the globe would be celebrated. The plea did not fall on deaf ears for many answered the call.

In South Africa, the parent body of Table Tennis, the South African Table Tennis Board, sent out an invite to all Gauteng based affiliates to consider hosting said tournament. Gauteng Central stepped to the plate laying open its facilities and amenities to all who wished to partake of what would be on offer on the 8 march 2009.

The tournament would run as a fun doubles tournament where teams had to consist of Female/Female or Female/Male athletes from novice right up to ranked players.

The venue in questions, the Boskruin Community Centre in Randburg (City of Johannesburg,) proved to be a glorious host on the day. Kids and adults alike from all over Gauteng made their appearance in expectation of fun play and competitive camaraderie.

They were not disappointed. The morning kicked off with group play where teams were drawn into groups of four. The winner and best runner up would then progress to the final knock-out phase of the tournament.

During lunch time, South Africa’s number 1 senior player and SA’s 2nd ranked lady put in an exhibition of drills and exercises much to the amazement of all present. In conclusion, they proceeded to challenge each other to a shortened version of a match - the lob shots were spectacular, as were the from behind top-spin drives, chop returns and fore-hand smashes. Glorious stuff indeed.

The knock-out phase of the tournament was interspaced by four challenge matches of doubles which, in themselves, delivered many fireworks and brilliant play.

The finals were interesting in that it was a youth versus experience affair. Although the youthful pair were the overwhelming favourites, the experienced pair gave them uphill around every stroke, every serve and every drive. In the end, the youthful pair walked away victors 3 games to 1.

The overall success of the day can be attributed to the following body of people: ITTF, SASCOC, SRSA, Lotto, SATTB, City of Jhb, Sedgars, Stag, the volunteers, the players and their supporters and GCTTA.

Results of the Friendship Trophy fun tournament:

Winners:          Khanyisile and Itumeleng
Runners up:     Margie and José
Bronze:            Sabu and Zodwa
Bronze:            Patricia and Letsego


Challenge Matches:

Letsego & Patricia bt  Khanyisile & Zodwa

Poppy & Kathrine bt Victoria & Bridgette

Terence & Samuel bt Melvin & Balwin

T’Bos & Sabu bt Nick & Neil