May 15, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News – Twenty-three-year-old former Caribbean U-21 Table Tennis Champion and Pan-Am Games Qualifier Guyanese Chelsea Edghill was one month away from possible qualification for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo Japan when the deadly pandemic COVID-19 brought the World and Sports, to a virtual standstill forcing the qualifiers set for March 2020 in Argentina to be called off and later the Olympics was postponed.
However, if all goes well, the Olympics will be held in July and August of this year.
Chelsea has returned to Guyana from Portugal where she has a contract to play division two table tennis with Portuguese club Lusitania de Lourosa.
“Being home after so long feels good, being back with my parents during what was going on with the Pandemic.
Being away was a really good experience, time and time again I would say it’s one of the best experiences in the sport that I have had so far,” said Chelsea.
In the Round of 16 of the second knock-out tournament in Rosario, Argentina, at the 2021 Latin American Singles and Mixed Doubles Qualification in April.
Edghill, seeded 17th, gave a good account of herself as she met the player seeded one position above her, needing just five games to see off Paraguay’s Leyla Gomez (11-8, 11-7, 17-15, 7-11, 11-5) before losing her next game.
Talking about performance in the Olympic Qualifies Chelsea said, “Yes I am disappointed that I didn’t qualify but at the same time I am proud of my achievement of being able to compete and play at my best and play at a very high level despite all the challenges I have faced throughout the process and it goes to show that with hard work you can do anything and I would say I am somewhat satisfied at being able to perform at such a level.”
When asked what some of those challenges were the Table Tennis player said mainly the pandemic and a lack of sponsorship.
“My biggest challenge was the pandemic, I know all of the players who attended tournaments were affected but some were affected more than others. In my case, I was unable to practice for quite something and being away from family and that sense of worry that you constantly have during that period and some of the things which occurred during the pandemic were not good.
Also leading up to the preparations for the Qualifiers not being sponsored for whatever reason… even before the pandemic as well not… being sponsored to compete at the Games and attend high level training camps.
Even though I was in Portugal I was playing at clubs and playing in the professional league.”
Chelsea said she navigated through this with the help of her friends. Yes, I was assisted by the GOA and GTTA give her the opportunity to go out and represent Guyana and she is grateful for that.
“But throughout most of my career I was sponsored by my parents and the Continental Group of Companies. My parents funded my training, my travels and everything I have achieved in the sports is thanks to them.”
Chelsea noted that as she grew older and understood the value of money she felt it was unfair for her parents to fund her career now since she is an adult and no longer playing at the junior level.
“I am capable of earning my own money but at the same time when I go out there I am not representing myself… I am representing Guyana,” continued Chelsea, who was born in Brooklyn New York on July 6, 1997 to Godfrey Edghill and Deirdre Baynes-Edghill.
The talented lass spoke about what she thinks should be done to improve the sport in Guyana and feels more can be done by the GOA, GTTA, Corporate Guyana and the Government to help the players and the sport with better facilities.
The former Bishops High school student and the four-time NSC’s Junior Sportswoman of the year informed that the school’s tournaments in Portugal are used as scouting in assisting to produce future International stars.
Chelsea yesterday paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Culture, Youth & Sport Charles Ramson Jnr described the meeting as very successful.
“Minister Ramson was really insightful and was open to suggestions. We spoke about the plights of fellow Athletes who go through the same things and even worse than me and I think he has a better understanding what is happening and what needs to be done for Athletes,” she said.
Chelsea has a planned meeting with GTTA President Godfery Munroe to discuss development of the Sport in Guyana.
When asked if she felt Guyanese sportspersons can remain here and become top Athletes or do they need to journey overseas to see improvement to an international standard, Chelsea said that Guyana does not have the facilities to produce top international Athletes.
“Speaking for Tennis we don’t have the population of players to do so and secondly I can say that we don’t have a structure or programme in place to produce players who can consistently produce outstanding performances at the international level. You can start playing in Guyana and start training at the Junior level but without international exposure it will be tough,” added Chelsea.
The young Table Tennis ace explained that in her perpetrations for the next Olympics in three years’ time she would want to start perpetrations now and attend high level camps.
“My goal is to make it to the Olympics and be ranked among to top 100 in the world,” concluded Chelsea who began her Table Tennis Career in 2006 and is presently ranked 430.
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