Male table tennis players in the island are making strides, but the females are still too far off, says Raul Calin, representative of the International Table Tennis Federation.
His comments came at the end of a working visit to Barbados as the Barbados Table Tennis Association (BTTA) prepares to stage the ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Barbados later this year.
The event for players 15 years and under will include competitors from six continents. Each team will be made up of eight players – four boys and four girls.
“The preparations are more defined now as five boys and five girls are now in training with a view for team selection for the tournament which will take place from October 23 to November 1 at the Gymnasium,” Calin noted.
Pointing out that the cooperation between himself and the local association was good, the international representative said the work of resident Cuban coach Roberto del Castillo was paying off and would be strengthened by the second stint of international coach Ramon Ortega who will be back in Barbados to fine tune the squad before selection.
“We are concerned with the development and the future of the game and it is a unique opportunity for Barbados, and the children in particular, that they make good use of what is being provided for them. They are some boys who are really talented, but are a work in progress and the coaches are putting in their best in making sure that Barbados, as hosts do well. In everything hard work pays off,” Calin added.
Local players, he said, would be exposed to the game at its highest level and would have three days of invitation play against all the teams taking part in the competition as a final sharpening up for the opening of the Challenge.
And it does not end there, the international representative said, as there are plans afoot to set up partnerships for the ongoing development of the sport in Barbados and the wider Caribbean. Calin urged fans to come out and support the event, adding that the future looked good for table tennis in Barbados.