What you need to know:
- Brian Mutua has grown to become an unstoppable force in the regional table tennis circuit.
- His crowning moment came during the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Eastern Regional Tournament in Kampala, Uganda, where he emerged as the triumphant victor.
- This resounding victory is yet to be eclipsed. His meteoric rise didn't escape the watchful eyes of the table tennis world.
In the realm of East African table tennis, one name stands out – that of 25-year-old Brian Mutua. With admirable determination and inspiring passion for the sport, this youngster seems firmly on his way to the zenith of the game. Already, he boasts of the number one seed in tennis in the region.
From humble beginnings of a budding high school athlete to the splendid present where several organisations are falling over themselves trying to get him to sign sponsorship deals, Mutua's journey is nothing short of inspiring.
His tennis story began in 2012 when he first picked up a table tennis racket while in Form Two. Initially, tennis was just a mere pastime but after a while, his passion for the game grew.
"When I started, I didn't take it seriously, I just played during games time to keep fit and while away my time," Brian remembers.
What motivates him are the grand dreams and ambitions he harbours.
"What inspires me is the satisfaction that comes when I achieve any of my goals. That helps me get up in the morning even if I am not in the mood for training," he explains. As a certified Young Olympic Ambassador, Brian’s greatest dream is to someday play at the Olympics.
He has grown to become an unstoppable force in the regional table tennis circuit. His crowning moment came during the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Eastern Regional Tournament in Kampala, Uganda, where he emerged as the triumphant victor. This resounding victory is yet to be eclipsed.
His meteoric rise didn't escape the watchful eyes of the table tennis world. Stag Sports, one of the biggest brands that manufactures table tennis equipment, recognised his potential and offered to facilitate him with state-of-the-art training equipment.
This partnership breathed new life into his training regimen, elevating his game to unprecedented heights.
"I feel blessed to have this sponsorship from Stag. It's not only about the equipment, but also about the confidence it gives me knowing that I have such a reputable brand behind me," he says.
Throughout his journey, Brian has enjoyed the guidance and support of coaches and mentors.
"I can name coaches like John Ojiambo, Chris Kyallo, and Ronson Nandwa who have been instrumental in nurturing my talent and encouraging me to pursue greatness," he acknowledges.
Brian says that of all approaches to tennis, attacking play is his favourite.
"As a table tennis player, I prefer the attacking style because that is the only style of play right now where you can have a chance to become a top player and also win a lot of matches compared to the defensive style. I enjoy that style of play because it is about seizing control of the game," he explains.
In his pursuit of greatness, Brian has crossed numerous milestones, each one a testament of his dedication. From the
December 2017 ITTF Eastern Regional Tournament in Mauritius, where he secured the sixth position in singles and emerged as doubles runner-up, to his stunning victory at the November 2019 ITTF Eastern Regional Tournament in Kampala, Uganda, where he reigned supreme in singles, the arc of his accomplishments is nothing short of inspiring.
For him, the journey is as much about resilience as it is about skill.
"Every athlete faces challenges. I think one of the biggest challenges I have faced is availability of the right equipment. Table tennis equipment wear out easily and fast," he admits. Finding quality training partners and accessing good training venues are some of the challenges he still endures.
But none of these challenges have fazed him. In fact, every difficulty he has faced has stoked the fires of his ambition.
"My favorite table tennis player is Ma Long from China. He is the reigning Olympic singles champion. I like his style of play, especially his forehand attack which I always strive to implement in my games.”
Despite his impressive achievements, Brian remains humble. One of his father’s friends gave him the nickname, "Mbuyu," due to his modesty.
His greatest desire is to play more international matches so that he can gain more exposure. He also hopes that the government can put in more resources in the game so that the sport can grow and flourish.
"Table tennis in Kenya is not that popular. I think we need to publicise it more so that it can reach more people. Additionally, for us to reach the next level, we need to participate in more high profile competitions," he says.
Brian’s journey is one of inspiration, marked by sacrifice, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to his dreams. With his sights set on playing professionally in Europe and becoming an Olympian, his story serves as a beacon of hope for aspiring athletes.
"Stay focused in whatever you do as a sportsperson. You should always be dedicated, especially while in training, because consistency is key. Most importantly stay disciplined," he says.