It’s a chance of a lifetime.
Barbados’ top Under-15 table tennis players will be hoping for massive crowd support when they take on some of the very best in the world in the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) World Cadet Challenge slated for the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium from October 27 to November 1.
A number of the young Barbadian players were at the Wildey, St Michael complex this morning, earnestly training with other participants from six continental regions who will be participating in the challenge and seeking to bring glory to their respective countries.
During a Press briefing, deputy chief executive officer of ITTF Glenn Tepper said the ITTF challenge did not only bring the best table tennis players in the world to Barbados, but offered a unique opportunity for interesting social interaction among the young players. Also attending the Press conference was Latin America Development officer with ITTF Ramon Ortega Montes, Events and Olympic Games Expert (EOGE) Raul Catlin and president of the Barbados Table Tennis Association (BTTA), Ray Jackman.
“Table tennis players must learn to work together as a team and during the training camp we ask every one of the eight teams to train with each other for one session so they get to interact with all different cultures, all different continents. We believe that if we have more events like the cadet challenge there would be less war because people would understand each other and have this great social benefit,” Tepper said.
This is the 13th edition for the challenge with Barbados being the first English-speaking country to host the event.
Kenady King, Janae Lewis, Jazel Griffith and Erica Banfield will have to deliver some of their best serves and returns if they are to defeat the likes of Amy Wang, the 12 and under world champion from the United States, Mima Ito from Japan and Lisa Lung from Belgium in the female category which has 32 entries.
The male representatives from Barbados Tyrese Knight, Marcus Smith, Ramon Jackman and Jalani Miller will have to be on the top of their game against Yuto Kizukuri from Japan, Minha Hwang from Korea, Christian Pletea from Romania and Kanak Jha from the United States if they are to walk away from the tennis table victorious.
Jackman explained that the tournament gave Barbadian table tennis players an opportunity they never would have had if the challenge was not taking place in Barbados.
“We are delighted as part of the programme for the WCC that as host country we are able to have a number of our young players participate in the tournament.
“They have been training fairly assiduously over the last few months. But what is most important for them, it gives them an opportunity that they would never have had if not for the tournament being held here in Barbados,” the president noted.
In addition, he said the training camp would allow table tennis players in Barbados to become more skillful and knowledgeable. He noted that many of the young players were able to defeat some of the senior players in competitions in Barbados which he believed was a very positive thing that they should be proud of.
“As Mr Tepper said that as they train in the training camps with all the other players from across the world and train with coaches who are at the very highest level, I am positive that they would come away with skills and knowledge and an experience that is second to none. That would do wonders for the game of table tennis in Barbados . . . it would raise the standard of the game in Barbados to a level that we have not seen before. I believe from this standard and from these children who are fifteen and under that the level which they would play going forward would augur well for the game,” Jackman said.
The opening ceremony for the challenge will take place this Sunday at 5 p.m.