Melecio Rivera (left) the outgoing President and Carlos Marín (right) the new man in office
Thirty-five year old Carlos Marín, the President of the Honduras Table Tennis Federation was unanimously elected as President of the Central American Table Tennis Confederation (Concateme) on Friday 26th January 2007.
At the Annual General Assembly held at the Excelsior Hotel in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, Carlos Marín was elected unanimously; he succeeds Melecio Rivera who in 2006 was elected President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union.
Table tennis in Latin America consists of three regions, Caribbean, South America and Central America.
Seven countries form Central America: El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The Central American Table Tennis Confederation was formed in January 1992 when Melecio Rivera was elected President with the Annual General Assembly always being held on the occasion of the Central American Cadet and Pre-Cadet (Under 13) Championships.
A special presentation was made to Melecio Rivera for his outstanding contribution to the sport of table tennis in the region the past fifteen years; Carlos Marín now becomes the organisation’s second ever leader.
In 2007, the Central American Cadet and Pre-Cadet (Under 13) Championships were held in Tegucigalpa from 24th to 27th January 2007 under the direction of Carlos Marín, seventy-six young players participated from six of the seven member associations; only Costa Rica did not compete. The event clashed with their National Games but Fernando Gonzalez Ledesma represented Costa Rica at the event and was present at the General Assembly.
The tournament was superbly stage managed under the direction of Carlos Marín, no stone was left unturned. Opening and Closing Ceremonies, sixteen tables, international size playing courts, practice tables, each table with boards indicating each player’s country, every participant received a certificate with their photograph included. Attention was paid to every detail.
Furthermore, the atmosphere was electric; of the tournaments I’ve attended in the past twelve months, the only occasion that could compare with the atmosphere created in the Olympic Stadium in Tegucigalpa was when Germany played China in the semi-finals of the Men’s Team event at the Liebherr World Team Championships in Bremen in the spring of 2006.
Quite simply in Honduras, the spectators whether players, coaches or whoever went absolutely bonkers!
There was no wonder Denisse Salman, the General Executive Manager of the Excelsior Hotel was delighted to host the delegates and the General Assembly. “When the Honduras Table Tennis Federation approached us we saw an opportunity to work with them in the future”, she said. “It’s good to support local sport, I wasn’t aware that people came from all over Central America to play table tennis in Honduras; also, it has given us a chance to work with the National Olympic Committee, we see positive future co-operation.”
The co-operation that Carlos Marín has established with the Excelsior Hotel is a major feature of his policy for the future of Concateme.
“We must work hard to market the sport in Central America, we must look for companies with whom we can work”, he said. “That will enable us to expand the sport and help those countries in the region who are experiencing difficulties.”
At the moment there is no organised table tennis in Bélize and there is lull in activities in Nicaragua; those are two countries to be targeted and once in the fold they would no doubt be highly motivated by the infectious enthusiasm to be found in Central America.
Also, this enthusiasm would appear to have rubbed of on the attractive Denisse Salman. She must be the most charming of hotel managers making sure that all her guests feel at home, whilst thoroughly endorsing the company’s logo, `Excellence is Our Habit’.
“We are considering opening another hotel near the beach”, she said. “But before we do that we must get a table tennis table for this hotel!”
Well done Denisse, well done!
Delegates at the Annual General Assembly of the Central American Table Tennis Confederation held at the Excelsior Hotel in Tegucigalpa
Photo by Leonel Godoy