•Compell, who ventured into the sport by default at the age of eight, says getting into the team so quickly is something she did not expect to happen so soon
•Kuria is delighted with Compbell selection into the team and she is optimistic that this will enable more kids to take up the sport.
As per the old adage: dynamite comes in small packages, 11-year-old Jenny Compell is certainly a player ready to explode at the All Africa Games.
The Moi Airbase Primary School pupil was among the 10-members table tennis team that jetted to Rabat, Morocco yesterday night after having won the selectors’ confidence despite her tender age.
The soft-spoken girl beat a strong field that included a number of seasoned players to win a place in the team that has set its sight on at least one spot on the podium as they seek to qualify for the 2022 Tokyo Olympics.
Compell, who ventured into the sport by default at the age of eight, says getting into the team so quickly is something she did not expect to happen so soon.
She, however, feels very honoured and proud to be the ‘baby’ of the team.
“It was unexpected,” Compell said of her selection. “I didn’t know how to feel or react to the situation when I first heard the news. I just thought to myself this was too soon for me despite having worked hard for my position for the last three years. All the same, I intend to give it my best shot.
A request by St.Teresa’s table tennis Club coach Michael Kuria to Ann Marie to come with her friends for the next training session is what landed Compell into the sport.
“One day after school, my friend (Marie) asked me to accompany her for training alongside other girls and that’s how I found myself playing table tennis,” she recalled.
Kuria is delighted with Compbell selection into the team and she is optimistic that this will enable more kids to take up the sport.
“It is certainly a dream come true for any player to be part of the national team. I am proud of her and looking forward to a great future. I believe every youngster dreams of playing to the highest level and I hope her achievement will encourage others to take up the sport,” said Kuria.
With her team-mate Josiah Wandera, coach Fahd Daim and manager Mariga Mwangi having already made appearances at the continental games, Compell says she has taken that as a motivation and inspiration for herself to stay composed in the arena when she comes up against Africa’s finest. “At my age, I don’t think it is easy to play at that level but I am certain the coaches will guide me very well and make it look simple.”
Apart from Compell, the ladies team consist of Doreen Juma, Lydia Setey, Pamela Glory and Lisa Wele while Wandera, Brian Mutua, Kennedy Kojal, Zaki Pema and Msafari Justine make up the men’s squad.