|Competing in Beijing Raises the Profile at Home
The fact that a person simply competes in the Olympic Games can have far reaching effects; especially when that athlete comes from a country that has not been blessed with a wealth of Olympians in their chosen discipline.|
At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games that is the situation for two countries in Latin America.
Dexter St Louis from Trinidad and Tobago is on duty having previously competed in Atlanta in 1996, whilst Yadira Silva is in action representing Mexico.
|Yadira Silva forging a new era for table tennis Mexico
Athletes in the sphere of track and field from Trinidad and Tobago are certainly no strangers to the Olympic arena but in the world of table tennis it is very much Dexter St Louis who carries the torch.
On the morning of Wednesday 6th August 2008 he was hard at work in the training hall at the Peking University Gymnasium practising against daughter Rheann Chung.
Important for Caribbean Country
“It is very important for my country that I am competing in the Olympic Games”, said Dexter St Louis. “Table tennis in Trinidad and Tobago is not as popular as it should be; hopefully by competing in Beijing it will raise the profile of table tennis in my country.”
The effect can only be positive and as always Dexter St Louis, who lives in France, has been preparing in a thoroughly professional manner.
“I have been training in various centres in Europe and with Liu Song in Bordeaux”, continued Dexter St Louis. “Certainly, it has been good to be able to practise at home.”
A second Olympic Games for Dexter St Louis whilst for Yadira Silva she leads in new era for Mexico; she is the first table tennis from Mexico to qualify for the Olympic Games.
“Just the fact that I’m here, representing my country is of great benefit to table tennis in Mexico”, said Yadira Silva. “There is much more table tennis taking place in Mexico now, more publicity and more people want to play the game.”
Like Dexter St Louis, Yadira Silva, who hails from Cuba and moved to Mexico following her marriage, has been following a detailed training programme.
“I feel I have improved a great deal in the past two months”, continued Yadira Silva. “I have been training in Sichuan for forty-five days now and it will be very interesting for me to see how everyone reacts to table tennis in China as here it is so popular.”
Of that last phrase there is no doubt, the popularity in quite mind blowing; mention the fact that you once spoke to Zhang Yining and suddenly you assume celebrity status!
Dexter St Louis competes in the Men’s Singles event whilst Yadira Silva plays in the Women’s Singles competition.