by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The two main goals are the development of coaches and improvement of tournament structure; secondary goals are to encourage the participation of women, increase the number of umpires and help Para Table Tennis athletes to make progress.
Notably ITTF/PTT Level One Courses have been conducted in Montego Bay and Kingston, with the Milo sponsored National Preparatory School Championships and the National Primary School Championships being staged.
“Preparatory schools are private; primary schools are public and are from the age of six to 11 years old”, explained Chreistian Lillieroos, the Course Conductor for the whole itinerary.
“Jamaica has 1,000 primary and preparatory schools in total”, added Christian Lillieroos. “It is the first time Milo was a sponsor for these championships and was very happy with their sponsorship and said they will continue next year again.”
Five players per team, overall 12 boys and 11 girls’ team competed in the Preparatory School Championships; six boys and seven girls’ teams in the Primary School Championships.
Coaches courses, tournaments and in order to plan for the future, a series of meetings.
Christian Lillieroos met on many occasions with Godfrey Lothian the President of Table Tennis Jamaica; in addition he met Stephen Grant, the national head coach and co-ordinator plus David Miller, the financial controller for the Jamaican Olympic Committee.
“One of the goals for Table Tennis Jamaica is to develop table outside the capital, Kingston”, explained Christian Lillieroos, the goal being in November to stage tournament in Montego Bay.
Christian Lillieroos (front row centre) was welcomed in Montego Bay (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)
Recently the initiative was taken to form the Montego Bay Table Tennis Association.
Deloris Brown-Williams was elected President, Charrone Grant, Vice President; both participated in the ITTF/PTT Level One Course.
“A development trip was made to the Manchester parish, it is about a two hour drive from Kingston; a primary school was the host for a series of coaching sessions, I met with the principal of the school”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “The region has a High School Table Tennis League with five schools but only one active primary school, so the goal was to ty to convince other primary schools to start Table Tennis.”
It is an area that is making notable progress.
“Peter Kavanaugh is the driving force in the region currently being the only ITTF/PTT Level One certified conductor in the country; Table Tennis Jamaica will have a course conductor training course in August”, added Christian Lillieroos. “Preparatory meetings were held with the ten conductor trainees, they were selected to take the course to make sure proper preparation was complete; some coaches also took part in the Kingston Level One course as co-conductors to learn more.”
Improving skills in the Caribbean island (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)
Jamaica National Championships
Progress with regards to coaches, it has been the same for officials; the Jamaica National Championships were held from Friday 24th to Monday 26th June; 219 players competed over the three days with 10 tables being in use.
“The tournament had for the first time strict umpires who enforced legal rackets, legal serves and the rules, so the players and the coaches had to adapt”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “Some matches had continuous faults because the players could not do legal serves.”
Tournament Director Seminar
Thus to address the problem, a two day Tournament Director Seminar was organised.
“The emphasis was on how to organize recreational tournaments, they might be the most difficult to organize”, continued Christian Lillieroos. “The players in the tournament wanted to have an answer to one simple question “when do I play” but that takes a lot of planning to be able to accurately answer that seemingly simple question.”
Simple but even in the most prestigious of tournaments, sometimes there are delays for a variety of reasons, a match where the Expedite Rule has to be invoked or the lights go out.
Both have happened in an Olympic Games.
Christian Lillieroos (front row centre) paid a visit to the Manchester district, (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)
“In comparison to other sports Table Tennis might be the most difficult sport to organize tournaments”, continued Christian Lillieroos. “In multi-sport events table tennis is the sport that uses the most time on the field of play; we have a tradition that each player should play many matches each day and in several events.”
Furthermore in order to improve tournament administration, under the direction on Morine Dawson and Sandra Riettie, the first Jamaica Level Two umpire seminar was held; Level One is being developed with visits to local clubs being part of the itinerary.
Primary school visits
“The first stop was to the primary school boys national champions and combined winners Greater Portmore Primary school; they have about 20 players but only three tables, they intend to raise funds for a fourth table”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “The second stop was to the Supersonic Table Tennis club in Kingston that is open four days a week and has four tables.”
Notably, a pizza party and exhibition matches were organized after the nationals to celebrate the titles Greater Portmore had won.
“More preparatory meetings were held for the August Pre Cadet Caribbean Championships that were held in Kingston from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th August”, added Christian Lillieroos.
More tournaments on an international basis are planned.
Coaching, umpiring, tournament organization and also there has been the promotion of the female cause; a one day seminar attracting 15 persons was organized.
“The conclusion was that a team environment is more important for girls than boys”, said Christian Lillieroos. “A combined open event like mixed doubles, an open junior event is helpful for the girls they like that more than just girls’ events.”
Step by step progress is being made; there is a new dawn on the horizon.
Participants at the Umpires Course (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)