Jan 13, 2016 Sports
By Edison Jefford
After a four-year hiatus, the Guyana Table Tennis Association’s (GTTA) flagship tournament on its calendar, The National Championships, will serve off on Friday at the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue with a conclusion date set for Monday.
According to GTTA President, Godfrey Munroe, players such as Shemar Britton, who has been winning several titles in domestic competitions; defending champion, Nigel Bryan, who won the last national men’s title, Joel Alleyne, Edinho Lewis, Elishaba Johnson, Kyle Edghill, Orin Hickerson, Stephan Corlette and Colin France are all contenders for the National Men’s title, which is expected to provide some exciting matches.
In the women’s competition, defending champion, Trenace Lowe is currently in Guyana for the event, as well as defending Junior Champion and Olympian, Chelsea Edghill. The improving Natalie Cummings, Jodyann Blake, Delcia Cummings, Neveah Clarkston, Priscilla Greaves and Selenas Jackman will all provide a roster for competitive table tennis.
“With several of the players coming off their successful sojourn at the United States Open Team Championships, the association felt that the 2016 Championships make for a very competitive event filled with keen rivalries among the players in the various categories, given the abundance and nucleus of young emerging and immensely talented players currently playing,” Munroe observed.
According to the GTTA President, the ‘B’ and ‘C’ Class events offer a new dimension to the Championships, but are part of the association’s plan to establish a system of ranking for all levels and tiers of players.
In addition, it provides a system for measuring players’ development and an opportunity for the players outside of the top tier to be able to win, which helps with motivation, succession and the transition of players with the inclusion and participation of juniors.
Prizes will be awarded to the first three places in each division; the awards include trophies and cash incentives. The categories to be contested include: Men’s Singles; Women Singles; ‘B’ Class Open Singles; 21 and Under Male Singles; 21 and Under Female Singles; ‘C’ Class Open Singles; Men’s Doubles; Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
Munroe said that the Championships were not held over the last four years for varying reasons. “Our inability to host these games truly distracted from our many achievements,” the GTTA head noted.
“The Executive Committee therefore felt it was very critical that every effort was made to have these Championships hosted given its critical importance to the structuring of key aspects of the sport, more so at the commencement of the year,” he said.
According to Munroe, the association will use the tournament as a “launching pad for the establishment and implementation of a national ranking system, which would serve to improve the transparency in the selection of national teams”.
“In this regard, the committee took decisions to have three distinct and separate events for the National Championships, which would see us hosting a National Senior Championship, National Junior and Cadet Championships slated for February and National Veterans and Doubles Championships in March,” he informed.
“The Committee felt that that would lend to better manageability of the event and less difficulty in securing sponsorship for a 30 category event as done in the past when we hosted a full fledged Championships,” the GTTA President concluded.
He said that the sponsorship arrangement is still being finalized; however, the association has received favorable responses from Banks DIH Limited, Reds Pereira Foundation, the Guyana Olympic Association and Ramesh Sunich of Trophy Stall.
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