By Noelle Smith
Titans Table Tennis Club in its quest for the continued development of its players will stage three tournaments this year.
According to the club’s Public relations Officer Daniel Thomas, the club, which has been in existence for several years, will stage its first tournament February 24 and 25 at the Queen’s College Auditorium.
“We did not have much local tournaments in 2017 so we are trying to ensure that the players would have a chance to assess their progress. If there are no games there can be no way to see if they are getting better or not. The Titans Table Tennis Club first tournament is set for February 24 and 25 at the Queen’s College Auditorium, open to players of all ages,” he told Stabroek Sport in a recent interview.
Following February, the club plans on staging another tournament March 3 and 4 and a final tournament in June for which no date has yet been given.
“The plan is to get not only our players to have competition, but we want all players in the country to have the exposure. This year we have tournaments outside of Guyana which our players will be trying to attend so they will have to get their practice games,” Thomas father of national player Thuraia Thomas said.
Though not affiliated to the Guyana Table Tennis Association, the club is easily one of the largest and more successful local clubs to date with many of the club’s junior and senior players performing well both locally and regionally and in some instances, internationally.
Thomas said he hopes that the success is reflected in all aspects of the players’ lives.
Titans head coach and former player Dwain Dick, stressed the importance of academics and sports for the young Guyanese and said he tries to lead from the front.
Last November, he was awarded the level two coaching certification and plans on progressing further.
Dick said it is an example he hopes his young charges will follow by not stopping at just one achievement but continuing further.
Both Dick and Thomas emphasized the importance of the players focusing on education as much as they focus on tennis.
“As much as we are a sports club, we understand that education is key. Titans is a club with many junior players and that means that many of the players are in school. Our aim is to show parents that sports and school can go hand-in-hand. If the players are doing well in school and they are excelling in the sport they are in positions to get scholarships to further their studies while they continue to master their table tennis skills,” Dick said.
Dick said national player Chelsea Edghill who is currently on a scholarship at a university in the United States, is a perfect example.
Table tennis is predominantly a male dominated sport in Guyana with only a handful of female players, and such is the case at Titans where national female player Natalie Cummings also gets involved in coaching the younger players.
“Natalie is a role model for the young ones, especially the females. She has been an influential player, one of the top players in the country and so they look up to her, especially the younger girls. She gives back to the club through coaching. Having her around is a good thing for the junior players because she has the experience from the regional and international tournaments she attended so they can learn from her. They can also learn how to cope as a young girl in the sport among the boys from her as she has passed through it herself,” Thomas said.
The development of table tennis in Guyana is what members of the Titans Table Tennis Club want to see for the sport and they are trying to achieve that as best as they could through their own efforts.
Thomas spoke of the assistance given to the club, singling out the Red Cross, who opened its doors to them to have the building as their home.
The sponsoring of equipment, trophies and other benefits received by the club are greatly appreciated by the members of the club, said Thomas and Dick.