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Good Start For Natunga In Eastern Africa Table Tennis Championships

Natunga has won 2 of 3 group stage matches at the Table Tennis East African Regional Championships.
Uganda player Ludia Natunga set to receive ball from Eritrea"s Sara Fasehaye. Though she had won two sets, Fasehaye was in the lead by one point, piling pressure on Natunga. The fast paced match ended 3-1 in favour of Natunga after four sets.
Uganda national team player, Ludia Natunga has won two of her three group stage matches on the first day of the 2019 Eastern Africa Table Tennis Championships.  

The Championships featuring only the singles category started on Thursday at the Pope Paul Memorial Centre. 

Seven countries including hosts Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania are participating in the Championship.

Natunga is part of Uganda's team that also has; Rita Nakhumitsa, Amina Lukaya and Regina Nakibuule for the women, while the men's team includes; Jonathan Senyonga, Eddy Omongole, Atwif Sentamu and Sam Mbabazi. 

In the morning, Natunga started defeated Eritrea's Sara Fasehaye Mengistab 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10). She later stopped team mate Nakibuule 3-0, while Uganda's Senyonga also defeated Djibouti's Diamal Ahmed Mohamed 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-4). 

Nakibuule told Uganda Radio Network (URN) that the late preparations could have had a toll on her mental and physical strength. The national team was selected last night and yet matches started today," she added.

Natunga told URN, after the match that it was not easy defeating Fasehaye but it was a great boost to her quest for top place.  Later Natunga also defeated Somalia's Dheman Mahdi Mohamed 3-0. 

Apart from Natunga, Nakhumitsa won her second match against Ethiopia's Saba Alema 3-0, while Senyonga  lost to team mate Eddy Omongole 0-3. Nakibuule also lost to Tanzanian player Neema Mwaisyula 0-3.

The opening day is for group stages with 4 players per group. There are three groups in the men's and women's singles categories. 

The best players in the group stage will qualify for quarter and semi finals slated for Friday morning and finals in the evening. 

The overall winners  in the men's and women's singles  will  get US $400 (approximately Shillings 1.4 million), 2nd placed players will get US$200 (Around Shillings 760,000) while 3rd and 4th placed players will get $ 100 US Dollars (approximately Shillings 360,000).


Also, the winner of the championship in the men and women's category will participate in the Olympic Qualifier to be held in Tunisia early 2020.