The staging of the annual Junior Caribbean Table Tennis championships and the acquisition of a Chinese coach are two of the key items on the agenda of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) for 2017.
Guyana will play host to the Caribbean Junior and Cadet Table Tennis championships in April this year and the GTTA, buoyed by the success of junior teams to last year’s North American Teams Championships in Maryland, United States of America and the success of the national junior boys’ team to last year’s Caribbean tournament, will fancy their chances of raking in more medals this year.
Last year the GTTA sent only a boys’ team to the annual Junior Caribbean TT Championships in the Dominican Republic and the team responded by qualifying for the Pan Am Junior qualification championships in Burnaby, Canada.
The boys’ team comprised Shemar Britton, National junior champion Kyle Edghill, Elishaba Johnson and Miguel Wong with Linden Johnson as the coach.
Top player Britton won a bronze medal in the boys’ singles reaching the semi-finals from a tough field.
This country has long benefited from bilateral agreements with China which has resulted in numerous Chinese coaches doing stints here and this present executive, seems to be traversing the same route.
“The GTTA has commenced engagement with the Chinese Embassy, National Sports Commission, Ministry of Education and Department of Sports relative to securing the services of a Chinese Table Tennis coach/player through a technical cooperation grant to lend assistance to the elite players,” stated GTTA president Godfrey Monroe in a release adding that the association hopes to have the coach here by July.
With the knowledge that only a handful of tournaments were held last year, the GTTA announced plans to increase the number of local tournaments stating that the aim is to stage a tournament every month.
According to the GTTA, improving the frequency of tournaments and the introduction of a ranking system, will keep the players actively engaged and assist in the marketing of the sport and the players.
“The GTTA has engaged sponsors in view of having a minimum of (12) twelve tournaments (1) one per month at minimum so as to have a filled domestic calendar of events,” Monroe stated.
This year the GTTA plans to stage both the national junior and senior championships as well as participate in the Senior Caribbean Championships in Trinidad and Tobago in August; the Caribbean Pre-Cadet Championships in Jamaica from August 23rd-29th; the Latin America Championships and the World Islamic Games in Baku, Azerbaijan in May.
National Team Training
The GTTA will be implementing a structured National Team Training year round to help the players improve. This periodized training will be adopted into the association’s development model for national teams at all levels who will meet for a minimum of two to three times a week which will enable the players to better utilize their collective synergies and strengths working together, Monroe stated.
The GTTA also plans to unveil and implement the National Athlete Development Plan also known as the Table Tennis for schools Project.
The GTTA will also host two, level-one certification programmes and an umpires programme.
Meanwhile, Monroe says the GTTA has sent a proposal to its parent body the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for approval for the funding and support of a DNSS programme for table tennis in Guyana.
The GTTA also plans to host a Caribbean Grand Prix tournament where the best Caribbean players will converge locally.
The hope, said Monroe, is to establish and host a marquee tournament which involves high level players from the region.
Monroe said the GTTA will also be moving to decentralize the sport and in this respect plan to establish committees in Regions Four, Three, Five and Six. “As part of the decentralization plans and programmes of the GTTA, the GTTA will be establishing steering committees in the areas listed above in view of providing management and a framework for the advancement of the sport across Guyana,” Monroe stated adding that the association has embarked on securing scholarships for the training of some of its best talents in High Yield environments like Sweden, Germany, France and China and will be actively pursuing its revenue generation plan with a view of providing the necessary funding to supplement the activities of the association.
“This will see key funding raising activities being held to generate funds to assist with advancement of the association’s programmes,” Monroe ended.