It may not have been the highest level of table tennis that the world has ever seen but the dedication, the determination and the desire was as strong as in any contest.
In the group qualification stage of the Men’s team event at the ITTF-Latin American Championships in the Mexican city of Guadalajara on Monday 23rd May 2011; St Vincent and the Grenadines beat St Kitts by three matches to nil.
The two teams met in the Caribbean section of the competition.
Never More True They say it’s the taking part that counts; never was that more true; the target is to finish in the top two in the group stage and thus qualify for the second stage played on a knock-out basis.
However, a top two finish is unlikely for either of the two teams.
Defeats In the morning session of play, the St Vincent and Grenadines trio of Carlton Daniel, Kamal Hunte and Romano Spencer suffered a three-nil defeat at the hands of Cuba’s Pavel Oxamendy, Andy Pereira and Jorge Campos; whilst the St Kitts and Nevis trio of Vidal Hendrikson, Keian Riley and Calvin Lake it was the same end result.
They were beaten three-nil by the Barbadian outfit of Trevor Farley, Aaron Barker and Mark Dowell.
Young Team “We have a young team”, said Kevin Hope, the Technical and Development Director of the St Kitts and Nevis Table Tennis Association; in Guadalajara, the man who sits courtside as the coach.
“Here it is exposure, especially for our best young players; that is the group we are targeting at the moment”, continued Kevin Hope. “Also, we now have a Grand Prix Circuit and every month we hold a tournament; it is all part of development.”
Development the Key Development is the key and the ITTF Development Department can take pride, both St Kitts and Nevis plus St Vincent and the Grenadines have been recipients of ITTF/PTT Level One Courses and both are in Guadalajara as a result of the efforts of the ITTF Development Department.
“We are concentrating very heavily on a grass roots programme”, said Philcol Jeffers, the Manager of the St Vincent and Grenadines Team in Guadalajara. “All our players attended the ITTF/PTT Level One Course; now we have 20 coaches and we are expanding.”
Wide Horizons Expanding and obviously Philcol Jeffers wants his team to do well but he sees wider horizons for table tennis.
“We are promoting table tennis heavily in schools”, he continued. “Table tennis is an avenue to developing skills, you have to be physically fit to play table tennis, it makes you a more rounded individual.”
East Caribbean Championships Loom Defeats for the two small Caribbean associations but the ITTF-Latin American Championships is very much a preparation for a tournament in June where medal hopes are high.
Alongside St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and the British Virgin Islands; they will play in the East Caribbean Table Tennis Championships to be staged in St Vincent and the Grenadines from Friday 12th to Monday 13th June 2011.
The experience in Guadalajara could prove invaluable.