The Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) last night confirmed the participation of representative men and women’s teams to the 55th senior Caribbean TT championships scheduled to serve off tomorrow morning at the Beausejour Indoor Stadium in St Lucia.
St. Lucia is the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to host this tournament and, according to president of the St Lucia National Table Tennis Association
and former Guyana national player Teddy Matthews, the Caribbean Championships are of a high standard with world ranked, semi professional and foreign-based players from the other islands participating.
In the absence of some of the more seasoned players the GTTA will be looking towards its younger players to medal at the championships which will also serve as qualification for next year’s Central American and Caribbean Games.
The women’s team of southpaw and overseas-based racquet wielder Trenace Lowe, former Caribbean U13 girls singles champion Chelsea Edghill and Natalie `Speedy’ Cummings is the strongest hope for a medal given the fact that they won a silver medal at last year’s championships held in the Dominican Republic.
Trenace Lowe who is now training and competing in the USA will be travelling from the USA she arrives on the 26th August
Edghill is in the USA where she participated in a training stint with the World Hopes Team at the Lilly Yip Table Tennis Training Centre (International Table Tennis Federation High Yield Training Centre). She will be traveling from the USA to St Lucia and is scheduled to arrive at 2.50 pm today.
Cummings is also scheduled to arrive today.
The women’s team has a new face in Akecia Nedd, a player of tremendous promise who will make her senior team debut at the championships. She is scheduled to arrive in St.Lucia with the members of the male delegation tomorrow at 9am.
According to GTTA president Godfrey Munroe, much is expected of the women’s team.
Edghill, who won a bronze medal in the 21 years and under category last year will again be competing in this category along with Nedd, and according to GTTA president Godfrey Munroe, the prospects for medals in this division “looks great.”
The men’s team has been weakened considerably by the absence of Paul David, Christopher Franklyn and Idi Lewis.
David won a bronze medal in the men’s singles event at last year’s championships and also teamed up with national men’s singles champion Nigel Bryan to snatch another bronze medal in the men’s doubles.
But he has declared himself unavailable to participate in the championships. So too has Christopher Franklyn arguably the strongest men’s player locally. Franklyn participated at the World Championships (individual) earlier this year in France where he acquitted himself well but, like David, has declared himself unavailable.
Another top player Idi Lewis, a former Caribbean boys’ junior champion and men’s singles bronze medallist, seems to have called it a day and has been seen more in the coaching than playing arena of late.
Their places have been taken by Joel Alleyne and Edinho Lewis.
Bryan, apart from playing in the men’s team events where he will undoubtedly get valuable exposure, will also play in the U21 singles category.
The tournament should be graced by the presence of the International Table Tennis Federation president Adam Sharara which is of historical significance since no other ITTF president has ever attended the championships. Sahara will be engaging members of the region at the general assembly in view of outlining the ITTF plans for the region.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the CRRTF will be held to elect the new members to serve the Caribbean region table tennis.
Former Caribbean men’s singles champion Juan Vila of the Dominican Republic is the current president.
So far some nine countries have confirmed participation for the championships including Aruba, Martinique, Barbados, Guyana Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Vincent, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.
Apart from the team events, the players will also contest the men and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles, veterans and 21-years and under men and women singles.
Bob Roopnarine of the Trinidad and Tobago and Albert Daniels, former national layer and executive member of the SLNTTA, will serve as Tournament Director and Deputy Tournament Director respectively.
The championships will end on August 31.